Symposium 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

Positive Psychological Interventions in the context of major life stress:  Avoiding Pollyanna (#354)

Judith Moskowitz 1
  1. Nortwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, United States

Positive psychology has been criticized as “Pollyanna,” “blaming the victim,” “bullying,” and a “tyranny” given the very real stressful circumstances – systemic oppression, poverty, war --  experienced by people the world over. Our program of research examining the adaptive functions of positive emotion in the midst of stress and testing positive psychological interventions to help people cope better with serious life stressors is subject to these criticisms.  In this symposium, I will discuss the theoretical basis for hypothesizing benefits of positive emotion in the midst of stress, provide examples of participant responses to the idea of experiencing positive emotion alongside negative, and make recommendations for positive psychology researchers in reporting and discussing PPIs to address the Pollyanna criticisms.