Evaluating the Effectiveness of Behavioral Vaccines

Project Number
RI 5/13 AL

Project Duration
January 2014 - December 2016


Positive psychology asks the question, "What goes right?” in the lives of individuals. It focuses on the characteristics associated with well-being and on the processes that facilitate flourishing in individuals and societies. Research efforts to confirm the effectiveness and efficacy of conditions and processes contributing to well-being have grown in interest in recent years for several reasons. Students with better life satisfaction have a greater achievement and enjoy better relationships with peers and adults. They manifest better health and higher participation rate in and out of the classroom. Research on well-being indicates that it isn't just associated with positive outcomes, but actually contributes to positive life outcomes. One of the most effective ways to increase subjective well-being is by adopting intentional activities. These intentional activities are sometimes referred to as "behavioral vaccines" because they seem to inoculate individuals against negative outcomes and build resilience in the face of adversity. The purpose of the proposed research is to examine the effectiveness of behavioral vaccines on well-being using randomized clinical trial (RCT) designs. The research includes two studies. The purpose of study one is to examine the effectiveness of the best possible selves (BPS) intervention on post-secondary students’ well-being. The purpose of study two is to examine the effectiveness of pedometers in increasing undergraduate students’ physical activity and well-being. Hence, study one will contribute to the attempt to develop and test innovative alternatives for meeting the needs of low achieving students. Both studies hope to contribute towards identifying simple, cost-effective interventions effective in improving well-being.

Funding Source

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