Use of a positive psychology intervention (PPI) to promote the psychological well-being of children living in poverty: Study protocol for a feasibility randomised controlled trial

Ka Yan Ho, Katherine Ka Wai Lam, Daniel Thomas Bressington, Jessie Lin, Yim Wah Mak, Cynthia Wu, William H.C. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Poverty has a detrimental influence on psychological well-being of children. Existing evidence shows that positive psychology interventions are possible to mitigate such impact. Despite criticisms that positive psychology resembles a scientific Pollyannaism that promotes overly positivity, positive psychology is not the scientific Pollyannaism that denies the difficulties and emotions that people may experience. Whereas, positive psychology acknowledges the difficulties and emotions, alongside with building up human resilience, strength and growth to face adversity. This study examined the feasibility of implementing a positive psychology intervention among Hong Kong Chinese children living in poverty. METHODS: A feasibility randomised controlled trial will be conducted. A convenience sample of 120 children aged 13-17 years will be recruited from a community centre in Kwai Tsing district. Participants who are randomised into the experimental group will join a 1.5-hour workshop covering four positive psychology techniques: (1) gratitude visits/letters, (2) three good things, (3) you at your best and (4) using signature strengths. A booster intervention will be provided at 1 week. Control group participants will not receive any intervention. Assessments will be conducted at baseline and at 1-week, 1-month, 3-month and 6-month follow-ups. ANALYSIS: Descriptive statistics will be used to calculate the feasibility measures. Effect sizes on psychological outcomes (ie, self-esteem, depressive symptoms and quality of life) will be estimated by mixed between-within subjects analysis of variance using partial eta squared with poverty (yes, no) entering into the model as a factor. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval has been obtained from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Institutional Review Broad. We will obtain parental consent as our subjects are below 18 years old. Findings from this study will be disseminated via international publications and conferences. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT04875507.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere055506
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Volume12
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2022

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