Positive Psychology Celebrates its 20th Anniversary!

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Positive psychology has recently celebrated its twenty-year anniversary, having been co-founded by Martin E.P. Seligman (University of Pennsylvania) and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (then of the University of Chicago) (Seligman, Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). For most of psychology’s history, since its creation as a distinct academic discipline in the 19th century, its emphasis has been firmly placed upon examination of psychological disorders and human suffering (Rich, Gielen, 2015). Thus, there are thousands of publications concerning depression, anxiety, thought disorders, and interventions for persons facing such challenges as unemployment, divorce, social exclusion, and poor physical health. The emergence of positive psychology therefore presents a special and welcome opportunity for psychologists to recenter and balance the discipline by examining what makes life worth living, including experiences and life-styles and decisions associated with both pleasure and meaning. In fact, Martin E.P. Seligman (2011) suggested well-being includes five elements: positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, and accomplishments. Positive psychology is relatively young, but its ideas have already received wide support from the world (including Russian) scientific community. It is no coincidence, therefore, that the 6th European Congress on Positive Psychology in 2012 was held in Moscow on the bases of Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Higher School of Economics. The task of internationalizing the principles and provisions of positive psychology are especially critical to RUDN University scientists, which is clearly evidenced by the number of relevant publications in RUDN Journal of Psychology and Pedagogics (Chebotareva, 2014; Gordeeva, Lunkina, 2017; Rich, 2016a, 2016b; Oboznov et al., 2020; Volk, Savelieva, 2017; etc.). This special issue of RUDN Journal of Psychology and Pedagogics, co-edited by Drs. Grant J. Rich, Victoria B. Kurilenko, and Irina A. Novikova focuses upon contemporary positive psychology and represents collaboration between scholars in Russia (Moscow, Biysk, Saratov, Tyumen, Ufa, Yaroslavl) and those located and/or with research programs around the globe: USA, Austria, Cambodia, Haiti, Lebanon, Vietnam. The articles in this special issue reflect the broad range of topics and methods utilized by contemporary positive psychologists. The first section Positive Psychology across Cultures and Nations begins with a thought-provoking analysis of the intersection of resilience and culture by Dr. Naji Abi-Hashem, who examines the concept of resilience from bio-psychosocial-spiritual perspectives, always keeping the impact and influence of culture front and center. Abi-Hashem is an international psychologist who divides his time between Lebanon and the USA, broadly educated in both psychology and religion. Next, the special issue focused on posttraumatic growth in Cambodia. Julie Badaracco, Ph.D., and her coauthors have lived, taught, and/or researched in Southeast Asia; this article demonstrates the power of utilizing mixed methods research, employing both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine influences on resilience in Cambodia. Dr. Ani Kalayjian of Columbia University and ATOP Meaningfulworld (USA) offers a review of her clinical and research work around the globe, describing her evidence-based framework of meaning-making, forgiveness, and gratitude. Kalayjian has diverse credentials and experience, and in addition to her doctorate is a registered nurse. She has delivered humanitarian relief via her missions in 48 countries, and has authored five books on transforming trauma. The final article of this section - Personal Spiritual-Moral Qualities and Empathy as Components of Higher Moral Capacities: Verification of the Relationship based on a Russian sample by Galina V. Ozhiganova (senior researcher at Institute of Psychology of Russian Academy of Sciences) - is one of the first Russian studies of personal spiritual and moral aspects and empathy as components of higher moral capacities from the perspective of positive psychology. The section entitled Positive Psychology: Cognition and Education includes articles considering, in terms of positive psychology, factors that allow people to confront the contemporary challenges in various educational and professional activities. The article by the leading researcher of the Psychological Institute of the Russian Academy of Education Dmitry V. Lubovsky - Selection of Educational Routes by High School and College Graduates: A Positive Psychology Approach - is focused on the problems of individualization of modern education, and the tasks of psychological and pedagogical support of educational and professional self-determination of high school students and college graduates. We believe that both Russian and international readers will find it interesting to take a look at the principles of positive psychology in combination with the provisions of cultural-historical theory and the activity approach in solving the problems considered by the author. The article titled Cognitive Factors of Life Satisfaction among the Russian Elderly presented by an interuniversity team of authors: Elena V. Belovol (Professor at Moscow State Pedagogical University, Russia), Zlata V. Boyko (Associate Professor at Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia), Elena Yu. Shurupova (psychologist at Center for Psychological and Pedagogical Support of Children and Adolescents, Moscow, Russia) empirically reveals predictors of life satisfaction among elderly Russians. It is interesting to note that the resulting model of life satisfaction in the “third” age includes memory and age as individual characteristics and family type as an external predictor of life satisfaction in the elderly. One of the most pressing problems of our time - “emotional burnout” - is investigated in the article titled Wisdom as a Factor in Preventing Emotional Burnout among Medical Professionals by Natalia N. Mekhtikhanova (Associate Professor at Yaroslavl State University, Russia), Julia S. Murzina and Julia Ye. Rusakova (Associate Professors at Tyumen State University, Russia). This topic is made significantly more relevant and timely by the pandemic situation, since medics today are at its epicenter. That is why the conclusions made by the authors about the possibility of developing wisdom in order to prevent burnout syndromes in medical institutions are so important. The next section of this issue is Russian Applied Research: Perspectives from Positive Psychology. The section opens with an article by our colleagues from the Shukshin Altai State University for Humanities and Pedagogy (Byisk, Russia), Associate Professors Oleg A. Sychev and Irina N. Protasova, - The Relationships between Moral Foundations, Social Beliefs and Attitudes towards Economic Inequality among Russian Youth: A Case Study of Altai Krai. The interest of Russian readers will undoubtedly be attracted by the Russian-language version of The Scale of Beliefs about Inequality by J. Kluegel and E. Smith adapted by the authors of the article. The main conclusion that the approval of inequality is supported by beliefs in a “jungle” world, which, in turn, is associated with a “deficiency” of such individualizing moral foundations as care and fairness obtained from the Altai sample, can be a subject for discussion in the context of further cross-cultural analysis by international researchers. A very urgent problem for Russian youth is considered in the article titled Relationship between Perfectionism and Forms of Social Activity of Russian Young People: The Case of the Saratov Region by Elena E. Bocharova (Associate Professor at Saratov State University, Russia). The main provisions of this article are of practical importance for the organization of the work of advisory services in educational organizations. The research results presented in the article Adaptation of a shortened version of Peterson and Seligman’s Values in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) with a Russian-language sample by Sergei A. Bashkatov (Dean and Professor at Bashkir State University, Russia) have not only great scientific but also applied significance for practicing psychologists. There is no doubt that an abbreviated version of the VIA-IS developed by the founder of positive psychology, M. Seligman, in Russian-language adaptation, will be in demand by Russian psychologists for use in large-scale studies on large samples in order to describe personality strengths delineated by mainstream positive psychology. The section Reviews presents an analysis of two books that, in one way or another, touch upon the problems of positive psychology. Dr. Grant J. Rich (Juneau, Alaska, USA), in his review of Positive Psychology in the Middle East/North Africa: Research, Policy, and Practice, edited by Louise Lambert and Nausheen Pasha-Ziadi (2019), characterizes the key issues raised by the authors: the mainstream development and the priorities of positive psychology in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, etc., their relationship with state policy, education, culture, religion, physical and psychological health of people, etc. The second review included in this section will provide readers with an insight into the book entitled Behavioral Science in the Global Arena. Vol. 1. Addressing Timely Issues at the United Nations and Beyond edited by Elaine P. Congress, Harold Takooshian and Abigail Asper (2020). Roswith Roth (Professor ret. at the University of Graz, Austria), the author of this review, analyzes in detail the main topic of the monograph: the use of leading ideas of modern psychology and behavioral sciences in defining the relevant issues and in developing strategies for achieving the sustainable development goals determined by the UN. Under the heading Scientific Chronicle, readers will be able to familiarize themselves with the most interesting scientific events of the United Nations Psychology Day 2020 focused on Multilateralism, highlighted by Priyadharshany Sandanapitchai (Research Associate at Rutgers University, USA) and Harold Takooshian (Professor at Fordham University, USA). In sum, the topics that modern positive psychology is currently working on are relevant, broad and multifaceted. Its main focus is on both individual and societal well-being (Seligman, Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). For the 20+ years of its development, positive psychology has accomplished much in terms of developing a scientific consensus on methods and approach, and towards harmonizing relations between the world and man. The Editorial Board of RUDN Journal of Psychology and Pedagogics wish the representatives of this extremely fruitful and promising psychology domain every success in both research achievements and in life. We look forward to continuing our cooperation!


About the authors

Grant J. Rich

Walden University

Author for correspondence.
Email: optimalex@aol.com

Ph.D., LMT BCTMB, Fellow of the American Psychological Association, is Senior Contributing Faculty at Walden University. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology (Human Development) from the University of Chicago. His work focuses on optimal cross-cultural human development and international positive psychology. Dr. Rich is senior editor of six books, including Pathfinders in International Psychology (2015), Internationalizing the Teaching of Psychology (2017), Human Strengths and Resilience: Developmental, Cross-Cultural, and International Perspectives (2018), Teaching Psychology Around the World – Volume 4 (2018) and Volume 5 (2020), Psychology in Southeast Asia: Sociocultural, Clinical and Health Perspectives (2020). His peer reviewed research has appeared in journals including American Psychologist and Journal of Positive Psychology. Dr. Rich has taught at institutions around the globe, recently in Alaska, Cambodia, and India, and lives in Juneau (Alaska, USA). Since 2016, he is member of the Editorial Board of RUDN Journal of Psychology and Pedagogics. Dr. Rich’s website may be found at http://rich.socialpsychology.org/.

100 Washington Ave South, suite 900, Minneapolis, MN 55401, United States of America

Victoria B. Kurilenko

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

Email: kurilenko-vb@rudn.ru

D.Sс. in Education, Professor, is Head of Department of Russian Language at the Institute of Medicine of RUDN University (Moscow, Russia) and Editor-in-Chief of the RUDN Journal of Psychology and Pedagogics, member of the Association of Science Editors and Publishers, author of more than 200 scientific publications, among them State Educational Standards on Russian as a Foreign Language, monographs, dictionaries, etc. Her scientific interests are connected with cross-cultural pedagogics, ethnomethodics, person-centered education and teaching foreign languages

6 Miklukho-Maklaya St, Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation

Irina A. Novikova

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

Email: novikova-ia@rudn.ru

Ph.D. in Psychology, is Associate Professor, Associate Professor at Social and Differential Psychology Department of RUDN University (Moscow, Russia). She is corresponding member of the International Academy of Pedagogical Education (Russia) and member of APA and Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. Her research interests lie in the area of personality, social, and cross-cultural psychology. Irina A. Novikova is Editorial Board member of the RUDN Journal of Psychology and Pedagogics since 2003.

6 Miklukho-Maklaya St, Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation


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Copyright (c) 2020 Rich G.J., Kurilenko V.B., Novikova I.A.

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