The Effectiveness Of Positive Psychotherapy On The Meaning Of Life, Cognitive Flexibility, Life Satisfaction And Suicidal Thoughts Of People With Depression

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Student in General Psychology, Ilam Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ilam, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Ilam Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ilam, Iran

3 Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Ilam University of Medical Sciences, Ilam, Iran


Introduction: The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of positive psychotherapy on the meaning of life, cognitive flexibility, life satisfaction and suicidal thoughts in people with depression in Ilam city.
Methods: The present study is quasi-experimental and its design is pre-test-post-test with follow-up stage. The statistical population includes all patients with depression in Ilam city in 2018 who were referred to Dr. Hamidreza Karim's psychiatric office by counseling centers for the treatment of depression. The statistical sample consisted of 40 patients referred to the center who were selected using targeted sampling method. Then, randomly, in two groups, 20 positive psychotherapy groups and 20 control group groups were replaced. The treatment program was performed in 8 sessions for the experimental group. In the present study, the scale of the meaning of life by Stager, Fraser, Oishi and Kaller (2006), Denis and Venderval's Cognitive Flexibility Questionnaire (2010), Beck's Suicide Thought Survey (1991) and Dinner et al. 'S Life Satisfaction Questionnaire (1985) was used.
Results: Research has shown that positive psychotherapy affects the meaning of life, cognitive flexibility, life satisfaction and suicidal ideation. Also, these results have been significant in the variables of cognitive flexibility and life satisfaction in the follow-up stage and its effect has been stable over time.
Conclusion: Based on the results of the present study, it can be said that positive psychotherapy affects the meaning of life, cognitive flexibility, life satisfaction and suicidal thoughts.


  1. Asgharipoor, N., Asgharnejad, Farid. A., Arshadi, H., & Sahebi, A. (2010). A comparative study on the effectiveness of positive psychotherapy and group cognitive-behavioral therapy for the patients suffering from major depressive disorder. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 6, 33-41.
  2. Baird BM, Lucas RE, Donnellan MB.( 2010). Life Satisfaction Across the Lifespan: Findings from Two Nationally Representative Panel Studies. Soc Indic Res. 99(2):183-203. DOI: 10.1007/s11205- 010-9584-9 PMID: 21113322.
  3. Beck, A.T.( 1991). Manual for the Beck Scale for Suicide ideation. San Antonio, TX: Psychology Corporation.
  1. By King L, Hick J, Krull J, Del Gaiso A. (2006). Positive affect and the experience of meaning in life. Journal of Personality and Sociol Psychology, 90(1): 179-196.
  1. Compton, W. C. & Hoffman, E. (2013). Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Flourishing (2nd Edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
  2. Darby, K. P., Castro, L., Wasserman, E. A., &Sloutsky, V. M. (2018). Cognitive flexibility and memory in pigeons, human children, and adults. Cognition, 177, 30-40.
  3. Dennis JP, Vander Wal JS.(2010). The cognitive flexibility inventory: Instrument development and estimates of reliability and validity. Cog Therap Res.34(3):241-53.
  4. Dickstein, D. P., Nelson, E., McClure, E. B., Grimley, M. E., Knopf, L., Brotman, M. A., Rich, B. A., Pine, D. S., & Leibenluft, E.(2007). Cognitive flexibility in phenotypes of pediatric bipolar disorder. Child adolesc, 46(3), 341-355
  5. Diekstra RF, Garnefski N.( 1995). On the nature, magnitude, and causality of suicidal behaviors: an international perspective. Suicide Life Threat Behav; 25(1): 36-57.
  6. Diener, E. Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction with Life Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71‐75.
  7. Diener, E., Oishi, S., & Lucas, R. R. (2003). Personality, culture, and subjective well-being: Emotional and cognitive evaluation of life, Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 403-425.
  8. Dockray, S. & Steptoe, A. (2010). Positive affect and psychobiological processes. Neuroscience & Biology-Behavioral Reviews, 35 (1), 69-75.
  9. Dogan, T., Spmaz, F., Fatma, D., Sapmaz, S. & Temizel, S. (2012). Meaning in life and subjective well-being among Turkish University Students. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 5(5): 516-527.
  10. Ellis TE.( 2006). Cognition and suicide: Theory, research and therapy. Washington, American  Psychological Association.
  11. Emmons RA, McCullough ME. (2002). counting blessings versus burdens: an experimental investigation of gratitude and subject wellbeing in daily life. J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 84 (2):37789.
  12. Fortinash KM and Holoday Worret PA.( 2008). Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing. 4thed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier. p.502.
  13. Fredrickson, B. L., &Losada, M.F. (2005). Positive affect and the complex dynamics of humanflourishing. American Psychologist, 60 (12), 678-686.
  14. Fredrickson, B.L. (2009). Positivity. New York: CrownPublishers
  15. Gilman, R., Huebner, E.S., & Buckman, M. (2009). Life satisfaction. In S. J. Lopez (Ed.), Encyclopedia of positive psychology (Vol. 2) (pp. 582-585). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.
  16. Kleftaras, G. & Psarra, E. (2012). Meaning in life, psychological well-being and depressive symptomatology: A Comparative Study. Social Research, 13(4): 337-345.
  17. Linely PA, Joseph S. Positive psychology in practice. New York: John Wiley and Sons; 2004.
  18. Lü, W., Wang, Z., & Liu, Y. (2013). A pilot study on changes of cardiac vagal tone in individuals with low trait positive affect: The effect of positive psychotherapy. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 88, 213-217.
  19. Lyubomirsky, S., & Layous, K.(2013). How do simple positive activities increase well-being? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22(1), 57–62.
  20. Masuda, A., & Tully, E.C. (2012).The Role of Mindfulness and Psychological Flexibility in Somatization, Depression, Anxiety, and General Psychological Distress in a Nonclinical College Sample. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 17 (1): 66-71.
  21. Myers, D. G., & Diener, E. (1995). Who is happy? Psychological Science, 6, 10-19.
  22. Pietrowsky, R., & Mikutta, J. (2012). Effects of positive psychology intervention in depressive patients: A randomized controlstudy. Psychology, 3(12), 1067- 1073.
  23. Rashid, T., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2013). Positive psychotherapy in current psychotherapies (10th ed). By R. J. Corsini & D. Wedding, Belmont, CA: Cengage.
  24. Rashid, T., & Uliaszeck, A. Stevanovski, S., Gulamani, T, Kazemi, F. (2013). Comparing Effectiveness of Positive Psychotherapy (PPT) with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial. Poster presented at the Third International Positive Psychology Congress, Los Angeles, CA.
  25. Reker GT, Wong PTP. ( 1998).Aging as an Individual process: toward a theory of personal meaning. Birren JE, Bengston VL. Emergent theorics of aging. New York: Sprinier Publishing Compony. 214-46.
  26. Seligman MEP.( 2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  27. Seligman, M. (2002). Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfilling. New York: Free Press.
  28. Seligman, M. E. P., (2012). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-Being. New York: Free Press.
  29. Seligman, M., Rashid, T., & Park, A. C. (2006). Positive psychotherapy. American Psychology, 61, 774-788.
  30. Seligman, M.E.P., Rashid, T. (2006). Positive psychology. American Psychologist, 61(8), 774-788.
  31. Spiegel, D. & Riba, M. B. (2015). Managing Anxiety and Depression During Treatment. The breast Journal, 21(1): 97-103.
  32. Steger, M. F. & Shin, J. Y. (2010). The relevance of the Meaning in Life Questionnaire to therapeutic practice: A look at the initial evidence.
  33. Steger, M. F., Frazier, P., Oishi, S., & Kaler, M. (2006). The Meaning in Life Questionnaire: Assessing the presence of and search for meaning in life. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53(1), 80-93.
  34. Woo, C. S. & Brown, E. J. (2013). Role of meaning in the prediction of depressive symptoms among trauma-exposed and non-trauma-exposed emerging adults. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(12): 1269-1283.
  35. Yalom ID.( 1980). Existential Psychotherapy. 1st ed. Basic Books. p. 544
  36. Zong, J., Cao, X., Cao, Y., Shi, Y., Wang, Y., Yan, C., Abela, J., Gan, Q., Gong, Q., & Chan, R. (2010). Coping flexibility in college students with depressive symptoms. Health nad Quality of life outcomes, 8, 1-6.