The efficacy of positive psychological interventions from non-western countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Tom Hendriks, Marijke Schotanus-Dijkstra, Aabidien Hassankhan, Tobi Graafsma Tobi Graafsma, Ernst Bohlmeijer, Joop de Jong


Recently, there has been a sharply incremental number of studies of positive psychology interventions (PPIs) from non-western countries. The aim of this study is to review and evaluate the efficacy of these PPIs. Databases, including PubMed, PsycInfo, and Scopus, were searched up to December 2017. In addition, we performed hand searches and reference checks. After removal of duplicates, 7,516 studies were screened and finally 28 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included in the meta-analysis. A random effects model was used to calculate between group effect-sizes at post-test. Results showed that PPIs from non-western countries have a moderate effect on subjective well-being (g = 0.48) and psychological well-being (g = 0.40), and a large effect on depression (g = 0.62) and anxiety (g = 0.95). The overall low study quality of the studies indicates the possibility of biases, which may explain why PPIs from non-western countries report larger effect sizes than PPIs from western countries. However, PPIs could also be more effective in non-western countries due to a better cultural fit.


positive psychology interventions, wellbeing, positive mental health, cross-cultural,

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