Term of Award

Summer 2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Klibert

Committee Member 1

Thresa Yancey

Committee Member 2

Jessica Brooks

Abstract

The field of positive psychology has emerged within the last decade and focuses on investigating happiness and what constitutes a satisfying life (Seligman, 2011; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). One of the main purposes of positive psychology is to identify resources that can be used to promote psychologically beneficial outcomes (Fredrickson, 2001). Two positive psychological outcomes that can build resources to overcome negative circumstances and lead to a fulfilling life are resilience and well-being. A theory proposed by Fredrickson (1998) that offers a process by which individuals can enhance well-being and resilience is the broaden-and-build theory. Through this theory, it is hypothesized that experiencing positive affect can broaden an individual’s thoughts and actions, which can in turn build lasting personal outcomes (i.e., resilience and well-being; Fredrickson, 2001). The current study draws upon the tenets of the broaden-and-build theory to identify processes that may help clarify the connection between positive affect and positive psychological outcomes. Specifically, the main purpose of the current study was to determine if savoring strategies mediate the relationships between positive affect and positive psychological outcomes. Participants included two hundred and eighty-nine college students who were recruited to complete a series of online surveys. In regard to gender, 186 (64.4%) participants identified as a woman and 101 (34.9%) participants identified as a man. Results of the study revealed that positive affect was directly and indirectly related to positive psychological outcomes (i.e., resilience and well-being). Of importance, savoring in the moment partially explained the link between positive affect and positive psychological outcomes. Implications to theory and clinical practice are discussed.

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