Happiness, Excellence, and Optimal Human Functioning Revisited: Examining the Peer-Reviewed Literature Linked to Positive Psychology

Student Co-author

CGU Graduate

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date





Since the original call by Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) for a new science of happiness, excellence, and optimal human functioning, there has been an explosion of activity in, acclaim for, and criticism of positive psychology. The purpose of this study was to identify and examine the peer-reviewed literature linked to the positive psychology movement. An extensive systematic review identified 1336 articles published between 1999 and 2013. More than 750 of these articles included empirical tests of positive psychology theories, principles, and interventions. The results show a fairly consistent increase in the rate of publication, and that the number of empirical studies has grown steadily over the time period. The findings demonstrate that positive psychology is a growing and vibrant sub-area within the broader discipline of psychology, committed to using the same rigorous scientific methods as other sub-areas, in pursuit of understanding well-being, excellence, and optimal human functioning.

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