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Am Psychol. 2005 Oct;60(7):678-86.

Positive affect and the complex dynamics of human flourishing.

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Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, 525 East University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.

Erratum in

  • Am Psychol. 2013 Dec;68(9):822.


Extending B. L. Fredrickson's (1998) broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions and M. Losada's (1999) nonlinear dynamics model of team performance, the authors predict that a ratio of positive to negative affect at or above 2.9 will characterize individuals in flourishing mental health. Participants (N=188) completed an initial survey to identify flourishing mental health and then provided daily reports of experienced positive and negative emotions over 28 days. Results showed that the mean ratio of positive to negative affect was above 2.9 for individuals classified as flourishing and below that threshold for those not flourishing. Together with other evidence, these findings suggest that a set of general mathematical principles may describe the relations between positive affect and human flourishing.

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