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Am J Public Health. 2011 Aug;101(8):e1-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2010.300083. Epub 2011 Jun 16.

Mental health promotion in public health: perspectives and strategies from positive psychology.

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  • 1Division of Adult and Community Health; Arthritis, Epilepsy, and Quality of Life Branch, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.


Positive psychology is the study of what is "right" about people-their positive attributes, psychological assets, and strengths. Its aim is to understand and foster the factors that allow individuals, communities, and societies to thrive. Cross-sectional, experimental, and longitudinal research demonstrates that positive emotions are associated with numerous benefits related to health, work, family, and economic status. Growing biomedical research supports the view that positive emotions are not merely the opposite of negative emotions but may be independent dimensions of mental affect. The asset-based paradigms of positive psychology offer new approaches for bolstering psychological resilience and promoting mental health. Ultimately, greater synergy between positive psychology and public health might help promote mental health in innovative ways.

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