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Am Psychol. 2013 Oct;68(7):590-600. doi: 10.1037/a0032089.

Contributions of positive psychology to peace: toward global well-being and resilience.

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School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Jacobs University Bremen.


In this article, we analyze the relationship between positive psychology and peace psychology. We discuss how positive emotions, engagement, meaning, personal well-being, and resilience may impact peace at different levels, ranging from the personal and interpersonal to community, national, and global peace. First, we argue that an individual's positive experiences, personal well-being, and personal resilience, as defined in current positive psychology, may in fact contribute to personal and interpersonal peace but can also entail detrimental consequences for other individuals, communities, and nations. Second, we describe how peace psychology contains traces of positive psychology, especially with its focus on the pursuit of social justice. Third, reviewing and extending the concept of community resilience, we outline directions for further conceptual and empirical work in positive psychology inspired by peace psychology. Such work would do well to transcend positive psychology's current bias toward individualism and nationalism and to conceptualize well-being and resilience at the level of the "global community." This extended "positive peace psychology" perspective would have important implications for our understanding of how to overcome oppression and work toward global peace.

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