Effects of Strength-Based Exercises on Depression Prevention and Promotion of Strengths in Adolescents
Kinney, Allie R.
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Positive psychology, pioneered by Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D. in the late 1990s, is an up-and-coming movement advocating a positive-oriented psychology that develops and increases inherent strengths and positive emotions in the individual. Although the studies of subjective well-being and quality of life have existed in the areas of counseling and humanistic-based psychology for several decades, positive psychology has aimed to unify and push these areas into the greater academic realm of psychology, as well as provide empirical support to its studies. Although the movement has achieved much in understanding and describing why humans have positive emotions and traits, it has yet to prescribe how positive psychology might be implemented on an institutional level. This project explored positive psychology’s background and how it might be applied institutionally by designing a study involving adolescents and making positive-oriented changes in behavior. The study proposed in this paper aims to assess whether doing strength-based exercises (designed by Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005) in adolescence boosts individual strengths and prevents depression. It has been hypothesized that over a period of five weeks in which adolescents complete one strength-focusing exercise per week, implementing one’s specific strengths will increase positive emotion, buffer against depression, and lower depressive symptoms in adolescents, both immediately and on a long-term basis.
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