Applied Positive Psychology: Improving Everyday Life, Health, Schools, Work, and Society, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Applied Positive Psychology

Improving Everyday Life, Health, Schools, Work, and Society, 1st Edition

Edited by Stewart I. Donaldson, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Jeanne Nakamura


264 pages

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Positive Psychology has experienced extraordinary growth over the past decade. Emerging research in this area is suggesting new strategies for improving everyday life, healthcare, education systems, organizations and work life, and societies across the globe. This book will be of interest to all applied psychologists, applied researchers, social and organizational psychologists, and anyone interested in applying the science of positive psychology to improvement of the human condition.


"This books provides excellent reviews of the selected topics by luminaries in the field and should have broad appeal to scholars and practitioners who are interested in this area of inquiry. This collection of symposium presentations will be useful in advanced undergraduate or graduate courses in a variety of disciplines." - E. Scott Huebner, University of South Carolina, USA, in The Journal of Social Psychology

"A worthwhile book for graduate students as well as psychologists in academic, school and business settings. Chapters summarize empirical evidence, describe measurement tools, and offer recommendations for improving a number of aspects of life." - Rebecca Selove, Centerstone Research Institute, USA, in PsycCRITIQUES

"This volume is a tremendous resource for scholars, practitioners, educators, and just about anyone else who wishes to apply the findings from the science of positive psychology. It uniquely establishes an effective bridge between the intellectual movement for positive psychology and how it works in the real world. This collection of chapters will inspire the reader to creatively find new opportunities to better the human condition, whether these are in our lives, schools, health care settings, workplaces, or society" - Robert A. Emmons, Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Positive Psychology

"This book emphasizes organizational, institutional, and community-level application of positive psychological principles. The editors are well known in their respective fields, and within the positive psychology movement, and they have a strong group of contributing chapter authors. I feel this book can reach an audience that other books focused on positive psychology do not, namely students and researchers in business, community , public policy, organizational studies, and leadership, in addition to the traditional psychology market." - Jameson K. Hirsch, Clinical Psychology, East Tennessee State University, USA

"One virtue of this book is that it includes so many different domains for which positive psychological principles are relevant. In addition to health and human development, the book shows how positive psychology can contribute to organizational effectiveness, educational practice, and mental-health treatment. Another virtue of the book is that it covers both micro- and macro-level perspectives. For those interested in applications to the workplace, 8 of the 14 chapters will be of interest. I am not aware of any other volume like this one." - Cary Cherniss, Applied Psychology, Rutgers University, USA

Table of Contents

J.N. Cleveland, E.A. Fleishman, Series Foreword S. Donaldson, M. Seligman, Preface Part 1. Introduction S. Donaldson, Determining What Works, if Anything, in Positive Psychology Part 2. Core Areas in Applied Positive Psychology E.Diener, K. Ryan, National Accounts of Well-Being for Public Policy B.L. Fredrickson, L.E. Kurtz, Cultivating Positive Emotions to Enhance Human Flourishing C. Peterson, N. Park, Character Strengths and Virtues: Their Role in Well-being Part 3. Applications for Improving Health, Education, and Positive Human Development S. Taylor, How Psychosocial Resources Enhance Health and Well-Being N.L. Sin, M. D. Della Porta, S. Lyubomirsky, Tailoring Positive Psychology Interventions to Treat Depressed Individuals H.H. Knoop, Education in 2025: How Positive Psychology can Revitalize Education S.J. Lopez, V.J. Calderon, Gallup Student Poll: Measuring and Promoting What is Right with Students Part 4. Improving Institutions, Organizations, and the World of Work I. Ko, S.I. Donaldson, Applied Positive Organizational Psychology: The State of the Science and Practice J.E. Dutton, L.M. Roberts, J. Bednar, Prosocial Practices, Positive Identity, and Flourishing at Work K.S. Cameron, Effects of Virtuous Leadership on Organizational Performance J. Nakamura, Contexts of Positive Adult Development Part 5. Future Directions for Applying the Science of Positive Psychology M.Csikszentmihalyi, Positive Psychology and a Positive World-View: New Hope for the Future of Humankind S. I. Donaldson, Epilogue: A Practitioner’s Guide for Applying the Science of Positive Psychology

About the Editors

Stewart I. Donaldson is Professor and Chair of Psychology, Director of the Institute of Organizational and Program Evaluation Research, and Dean of the School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences at Claremont Graduate University. Dean Donaldson continues to develop and lead one of the most extensive and rigorous graduate programs specializing in applied psychology, positive psychology, and evaluation science. He has taught numerous university courses, professional development workshops, and has mentored and coached more than 100 graduate students and working professionals during the past two decades. Dr. Donaldson has also provided organizational consulting, applied research, or program evaluation services to more than 100 different organizations. He has been Principal Investigator on more than 30 extramural grants and contracts to support research, evaluations, scholarship, and graduate students at Claremont Graduate University.

Dr. Donaldson is a fellow of the Western Psychological Association, is serving a three-year elected term on the Board of the American Evaluation Association, and is on the Editorial Boards of the American Journal of Evaluation, New Directions for Evaluation, and the SAGE Research Methods Online. He has authored or co-authored more than 200 evaluation reports, scientific journal articles, and chapters, including his latest article in the Journal of Positive Psychology (2010; with Ia Ko) entitled Positive organizational psychology, behavior, and scholarship: A review of the emerging literature and evidence base. His recent books include: Applied Positive Psychology: Improving Everyday Life, Health, Schools, Work, and Society (this volume; with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Jeanne Nakamura); Social Psychology and Evaluation (forthcoming; with Melvin M. Mark and Bernadette Campbell); What Counts as Credible Evidence in Applied Research and Contemporary Evaluation Practice? (2008; with Christina A. Christie and Melvin M. Mark); Program Theory-Driven Evaluation Science: Strategies and Applications (2007); Applied Psychology: New Frontiers and Rewarding Careers (2006; with Dale E. Berger and Kathy Pezdek); and Evaluating Social Programs and Problems: Visions for the New Millennium (2003; with Michael Scriven). Dr. Donaldson has been honored with Early Career Achievement Awards from the Western Psychological Association and the American Evaluation Association.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (CHEEK sent me high ee) was born in Italy where his father was serving as a consul for the Hungarian government. During World War II as a pre-teen child, he witnessed the crash of European society and wondered why grown-ups had not found a better way to live. While one older brother was killed and the other taken prisoner for many years in the Russian gulags, he was lucky to escape from the war relatively unscathed. He had to work, however, at many jobs instead of finishing high school. The quest to understand how to improve life led him through religion, philosophy, literature, and art, before coming to rest on psychology, which promised more empirically based answers to his questions.

He came to the USA in 1956, with $1.25 to his name and almost no English. While working at night (11pm–7am) as a hotel auditor, he enrolled at the University of Illinois in Chicago. For his ESL class he wrote the first of two autobiographical short stories that were published in the New Yorker. He then transferred to the University of Chicago, where he received his PhD in Human Development in 1965, with a thesis on artistic creativity. After graduation he started teaching at Lake Forest College, where he became Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology; here he wrote his first papers on what later became known as the flow experience. After five years he returned to the University of Chicago in a faculty position; he taught there for 30 years, eventually becoming Chair of the Psychology Department. He wrote several books and over 200 articles while at Chicago. In 1999 he accepted a Chair in the Drucker School of Management in Claremont, California, where he taught for eight years before transferring to the Psychology Department in the same University. Besides writing numerous books and articles on the topics of creativity and flow, Csikszentmihalyi has developed the Experience Sampling Method as a way to measure people’s activities and experiences in their natural environment.

Jeanne Nakamura is Assistant Professor of Psychology, Co-Director of the Positive Psychology concentration, and Co-Director of the Quality of Life Research Center in the School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences at Claremont Graduate University. She received her BA and PhD from the University of Chicago. She helped direct the GoodWork Project, a series of studies of excellence and social responsibility in professional life, including the Study of the Transmission of Excellence. She investigates positive psychology in a developmental context, including engagement and creativity, mentoring and good work, and aging well. She is the co-author of Good Mentoring and Creativity and Development, and co-editor of Supportive Frameworks for Youth Engagement.

About the Series

Applied Psychology Series

Bridging both academic and applied interests, the Applied Psychology Series offers publications that emphasize state-of-the-art research and its application to important issues of human behavior in a variety of societal settings. To date, more than 50 books in various fields of applied psychology have been published in this series.

To propose a title, please contact Jeanette Cleveland (, Donald Truxillo (, and Christina Chronister (

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Applied Psychology
PSYCHOLOGY / Personality