Meta-analyses of positive psychology interventions: The effects are much smaller than previously reported
Carmela A. White, Bob Uttl, Mark D. Holder (2019) Abstract For at least four decades, researchers have studied the effectiveness of interventions designed to increase well-being. These interventions have become known as positive psychology interventions (PPIs). Two highly cited meta-analyses examined the effectiveness of PPIs on well-being and depression: Sin and Lyubomirsky (2009) and Bolier et al. (2013). Sin and Lyubomirsky reported larger effects of PPIs on well-being (r = .29) and depression (r = .31) than Bolier et al. reported for subjective well-being (r = .17), psychological wellbeing (r = .10), and depression (r = .11). A detailed examination of the two meta-analyses reveals that the authors employed different approaches, used different inclusion and exclusion criteria, analyzed different sets of studies, described their methods with insufficient detail to compare them clearly, and did not report or properly account for significant small sample size bias.