Abstract and Keywords
This chapter offers an overview of the scientific approaches to the study of mental health, starting from the historical breakthrough represented by Maria Jahoda’s emphasis on the structural differences between mental health and mental illness, and concluding with the latest theoretical models and interventions formulated within positive psychology. Attention is paid to conceptualizations of human flourishing and psychological well-being, their operationalization and assessment tools, and their use and effectiveness in interventions. Empirical findings on positive mental health features across the life span are summarized. The approach to mental health developed within Asian traditions, and specifically in the Indian medical system of Ayurveda, is discussed in relation to the Western view. New questions and challenges arising from the expansion of knowledge about positive mental health are outlined.
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