Tweens: A Positive Psychology Family Intervention for Adolescents with Depression- or Anxiety-related Symptomatology

Jennifer Söderlund, Julia Simonsen*, Katarina Alanko, Åse Fagerlund

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Positive psychology is the scientific study of human thoughts, feelings and behaviour that focuses on building resources rather than treating illness. The current pilot study utilised qualitative methods to explore an intervention, ‘Tweens’, based on proven methods from positive psychology. Tweens was designed to be suitable for adolescents aged 11–14, who experienced symptoms of depression, anxiety, or stress. A defining feature of Tweens is that it included both the afflicted children and their parents, and is the first study to examine a positive psychology family intervention for this target group. Using Constructive Grounded Theory, this study sought to determine what meaning, if any, the participants ascribed to Tweens and how they integrated the methods into their daily lives. The study also investigated why some participants did not find the intervention meaningful or effective. The results show that the experienced meaningfulness of Tweens can be divided into three main categories: (1) A sense of belonging or togetherness, (2) The utility of the tools that were taught, and (3) An increased mindsight and learning how to choose actions mindfully. The results are discussed in light of the broaden-and-build theory: when parents and children have shared knowledge and vocabulary for talking about well-being, supportive upward spirals occur. All the adolescents did not perceive the intervention as meaningful, and we discuss variations in depressiveness, problematic life circumstances and possible flaws in the intervention as possible reasons for this.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Positive Psychology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Aug 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Adolescents
  • Anxiety
  • Children
  • Depression
  • Family intervention
  • Positive Psychology
  • Qualitative Research


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