Happy thoughts: Enhancing well-being in the classroom with a positive events diary

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  • Paul Carter
  • Brendan Hore
  • Leona McGarrigle
    School of Psychology, Bangor University
  • Manon Edwards
    Wirral Educational Psychology Team, Birkenhead
  • Gavin Doeg
    Wirral Educational Psychology Team, Birkenhead
  • Rachel Oakes
    School of Psychology, Bangor University
  • Aisling Campion
  • Grace Carey
  • Katie Vickers
  • John Parkinson
Positive psychology interventions (PPIs) are effective in increasing well-being across the population. Whilst educators are recognising the importance of well-being in the classroom and of its long-term impact on life trajectory, the transformative potential of PPIs in educational settings is yet to be fully realised. This study investigates, for the first time, the effects of a PPI in school children by means of a daily dairy. Self-report questionnaires were used to measure well-being in school children aged 8–11 years. Across two studies, children kept a positive events diary, recording three experiences every day for a week. The intervention led to an increase in happiness and a decrease in depressive symptoms immediately following the intervention and at a three-month follow-up. Children who had unhappier baseline scores benefitted more from the intervention. This study demonstrates significant scope, in school settings, for targeted light-touch interventions to promote well-being in those with the greatest need.


  • Positive Psychology, Positive Thinking, Resilience, Well-being, Positive Psychology Intervention, PPI, Children, Education, Attribution
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-121
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date18 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

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