What type of self-kindness activities and other-kindness activities are most beneficial for flourishing mental health?
Qualitative (and quantitative)
The University of Twente conducted a large-scale trial on happiness exercises in 2018 in a sample retrieved from the general Dutch population. Participants were allocated to an acts of kindness intervention or a self-kindness intervention. They performed 5 kind acts for others or themselves on one day per week, during 6 weeks. The day after they performed kind acts, participants completed an online diary. Results of the efficacy on mental well-being and flourishing showed no significant differences between performing kind acts towards others or towards themselves, although both groups showed a significant increase on well-being and flourishing compared to a wait-list control group. A possible explanation for this unexpected finding might lie in the type of kind acts that participants performed. Therefore, an important next step is to conduct a qualitative analysis of the diaries of the participants and examine which type of activities relate to enhanced mental well-being and flourishing (or other related outcomes such as positive relations and positive emotions).
Who are we looking for?
Students who are interested in conducting qualitative research (content-analysis) and finding an answer to unexpected results from a large-scale trial. We also look for dedicated students who are curious and conscientious.
What do we offer?
You are the first to analyze this type of research question within positive psychology and within this positive psychology intervention (acts of kindness) in particular.
Dr. Marijke Schotanus-Dijkstra