Abstract and Keywords
The goal of this chapter is to inform the reader of the unique facets of childhood as they relate to the research and application of positive psychology, provide reference to exemplary work in this area, and identify research needs for the future. Researchers have noted the need, particularly when working with children and adolescents, to examine strengths and positive aspects of development rather than focusing solely on psychopathology and other possible negative outcomes. Positive psychology offers such an approach. This chapter reviews current research in hope, optimism, benefit finding, and quality of life in children and adolescents, highlighting measurement issues and notable interventions for each of these concepts. Developmental considerations, prevention and promotion, and settings for the delivery of positive psychology to children and adolescents are discussed. Despite the development in positive psychology measurement and intervention for children, much more research is needed in this area. Future exploration of the interrelatedness among hope, optimism, growth finding, and other positive psychology variables is needed. There are many youth programs and interventions that have a positive psychology orientation; however, methodologically sound, systematic research planned a priori is needed. Thus, interventions and evaluations of programs to promote hope or optimism in children and adolescents are prime areas for future work.
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