Enabling Positive Transition to University: Evaluating an App-Based Positive Psychology Intervention with UK First Year Undergraduate Students
Roger Bretherton, Frances J. Longstaff , Joanne E. P. Askew and Zoe I. Yovcheva-Dimov
Citation: Bretherton, R., Longstaff, F. J., Askew, J. E. P., & Yovcheva-Dimov, Z. I. (2022). Enabling Positive Transition to University: Evaluating an App-Based Positive Psychology Intervention with UK First Year Undergraduate Students. European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 6, 6,1-16. https://www.nationalwellbeingservice.org/volumes/volume-6-2022/volume-6-article-6/
Processing dates: Submitted 14 July 2021; Resubmitted 25 January 2022; Accepted 28 January 2022; Published 16 September 2022
Background: Starting university is a key life transition, and a potential source of psychological distress in first year university students. Those who manage the university transition effectively report high levels of optimism, hope, self-efficacy, emotional intelligence and self-regulation.
Methodology: This study evaluated the effect of an app-based multi-component positive psychology intervention (MPPI) delivered to undergraduates within the first semester of university. Ninety-two first year university students were randomly allocated to an app-based MPPI (n = 46) or an active control journaling condition (n = 46) for six weeks.
Results: The MPPI condition reported significant increases in life satisfaction after three and six weeks of the intervention; plus, significant increases in positive affect and self-efficacy, and decreases in negative affect after six weeks.
Discussion: The effect of exercise dosage and follow-up period is reviewed. The differential effects of the varied psychological intervention are considered in the light of the Synergistic Change Model.
Conclusions: App-based MPPIs are presented as a scalable cost-effective approach to supporting student transition to university.
Keywords: positive psychology; app-based interventions; student wellbeing; mental health promotion; self-efficacy; subjective wellbeing
Dr. Roger Bretherton is with the School of Psychology, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, LN5 7AY, UK
Frances J. Longstaff is with the Department of Psychology, University of Hertfordshire, UK, and with Fika Community Ltd, UK
Joanne E. P. Askew is with the Department of Psychology, University of Hertfordshire, UK
Zoe I. Yovcheva-Dimov is with Fika Community Ltd, UK