How WEIRD are positive psychology interventions? A bibliometric analysis of randomized controlled trials on the science of well-being

Tommy Hendriks*, Meg A. Warren, Marijke Schotanus-Dijkstra, Aabidien Hassankhan, Tobi Graafsma, Ernst Bohlmeijer, Joop de Jong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The past two decades have witnessed a rapid rise in well-being research, and a profusion of empirical studies on positive psychology interventions (PPIs). This bibliometric analysis quantifies the extent to which rigorous research on PPIs that employ randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reaches beyond Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic (WEIRD) populations. A search was conducted through databases including PubMed, PsycINFO, and Scopus for studies from 1998 to 2017. In total, we found 187 full-text articles that included 188 RCTs from 24 countries. We found that RCTs on the efficacy of PPIs are still predominately conducted in western countries, which accounted for 78.2% of the studies. All these countries are highly industrialized and democratic, and study populations are often highly educated and have a high income. However, there has been a strong and steady increase in publications from non-Western countries since 2012, indicating a trend towards globalization of positive psychology research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-501
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • bibliometric analysis
  • Cross-cultural
  • global mental health equity
  • intervention
  • mental health
  • positive psychology
  • RCT - randomized controlled trial
  • treatment gap
  • WEIRD

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