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Introduction to special section on positive psychology

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Chapter Summary

Positive psychology, the study of character strengths and virtues, is rapidly becoming the most popular topic in applied psychology. Both spirituality and positive psychology are concerned with what it means to live a good life and both are countercultural to the zeitgeist of selfactualization in previous psychological models. That trend emphasized self-focused or self-promotional patterns as the path to human flourishing. Both positive psychology and spirituality promote moving beyond the self in order to find fulfillment. Linked by this common theme the articles assembled in this chapter, approach the topic across a wide range of constructs, measures, and participant populations. They range from measurement refinements to new settings, to new construct and new populations (Malta, India, adolescents, and pathological gamblers). The chapter concludes that spirituality and positive psychology are well on the road to establishing their theoretical and empirical utility for grasping a fuller understanding of human nature.

Keywords: human nature; India; Malta; positive psychology; spirituality



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