Flourishing families: Effects of a positive psychology intervention on parental flow, engagement, meaning and hope

Selja Pentti · Åse Fagerlund · Pär Nyström

Abstract: Few studies have investigated how positive psychology can be applied in a family context to enhance parenting. This study used an 8-week strength-based intervention on engagement, meaning, hope and flow in a wait-list group design (N=63) within an ongoing larger-scale study in Finland – “Flourishing Families”. Well-being was measured by questionnaires and daily life experiences using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM). Data showed a significant increase in flow in daily life when parents spent time with their child/children. Contrary to the hypothesis, the questionnaires did not reveal any significant increase in engagement, meaning or hope. We conclude that positive psychology interventions may be advantageous to improve parenting and parent-child interaction in daily life, but this may not be evident in parents’ self-report.

Keywords: strength-based parenting, flow, ESM, engagement, meaning, hope