Looking at the bowl of fruit or focussing on the apples? Reply to the comments of Schueller et al.

Linda Bolier, Merel Haverman, Gerben J Westerhof, Heleen Riper, Filip Smit, Ernst Bohlmeijer


The article of Schueller, Kashdan and Parks (2014) provides us with the opportunity to further clarify some aspects of the design and the choices we made in our meta-analysis "Positive psychology interventions: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies" (Bolier et al., 2013). We appreciate their commentary and endorse the useful discussion of defining positive psychological interventions for future meta-analyses. Their main concern is that we were too narrow in our inclusion strategy and should have been more inclusive by integrating effectiveness studies of related areas in positive psychology. In this reply, we argue that our strategy is equally legitimate: science is often a piecemeal effort in which the researcher limits the scope and the research question. Defining the criteria of a positive psychological intervention (PPI) can be done in a broad or a more narrow way. We acknowledge that our meta-analysis has limitations. Limitations are inherent in all meta-analyses, especially when they are published as a journal paper, which limits the scope of any work. That said, the focus of our meta-analysis was based on a conscious choice and we presented a clear description of our search strategy in order to be transparent and produce a replicable review of the literature.


Meta-analysis, positive psychology, moderator analysis, interventions, definition

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