Background: The well-being of children and adolescents is a major concern in many countries. School is the ideal environment for positive education interventions. Questionnaires can pose a challenge for children and adolescents in reliably describing changes in affect over a period of time, hence stressing the importance of a broader evaluation methodology.
Aim: The present study investigates the efficacy of a positive psychology intervention Strength, Happiness and Compassion on students’ positive and negative affect utilizing a clustered randomized control trial design.
Method: 140 Finnish middle school students (aged 10-12) attended the study (intervention group n=72). The intervention consisted of 36 well-being lessons within a school year. Control group classes followed their standard curriculum. Data was collected through questionnaires, experience sampling method (through a mobile app) and focus group interviews and gathered at pre-, post-intervention and 5-month follow-up (questionnaire).
Results: Students in the intervention group reported statistically significant increases in positive affect and decreases in daily negative affect. Qualitative data showed that students in the intervention group liked and benefited from the well-being lessons.
Conclusions: The data indicate a positive impact of the positive education program as a means of increasing positive affect and well-being among adolescents.