Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Social Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Anne Wilson

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Roger Buehler

Advisor Role

Committee Member

Third Advisor

Nancy Kocovski

Advisor Role

Committee Member


Positive Psychology Interventions (PPIs) are activities designed to facilitate greater psychological well-being through building cognitive and behavioural habits and skills (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). However, there may be individual differences that play a role in the effect PPIs have. The present research evaluated how individuals’ implicit theories regarding happiness as being controllable or not controllable (Howell, Passmore, & Holder, 2016) may predict their responses to and participation in PPIs, and in turn if those beliefs may be linked to the positive outcomes of the activities. In four online studies, the relationship between implicit theories of happiness and PPIs was explored, first gauging participants’ initial thoughts towards PPIs (Study 1; N = 164), then evaluating the outcomes of participants completing PPIs (Study 2; N = 295), next investigating the potential role of expectancy effects on the positive impact of PPIs (Study 3; N = 262), and finally attempting to experimentally manipulate the implicit theories of happiness participants hold to test their causal role on responses to PPIs (Study 4; N = 177). Results supported the idea that individual differences in implicit theories of happiness may be an important variable to consider in the way people view and react to PPIs and the benefits they derive from doing PPIs. Experimental studies showed little effect of expectancy and failed to shift people’s chronic response style substantially. Results further suggest there may be an indirect relationship between implicit theories, attitudes towards PPIs, and change in affect following PPIs.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season