How WEIRD are positive psychology interventions? A bibliometric analysis of randomized controlled trials on the science of well-being

Tom Hendriks, Meg A. Warren, Marijke Schotanus-Dijkstra, Aabidien Hassankhan, Tobi Graafsma, Ernst Bohlmeijer, Joop de Jong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


The past two decades have witnessed a rapid rise in well-being research, and a profusion of empirical studies on positive psychology interventions (PPIs). This bibliometric analysis quantifies the extent to which rigorous research on PPIs that employ randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reaches beyond Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic (WEIRD) populations. A search was conducted through databases including PubMed, PsycINFO, and Scopus for studies from 1998 to 2017. In total, we found 187 full-text articles that included 188 RCTs from 24 countries. We found that RCTs on the efficacy of PPIs are still predominately conducted in western countries, which accounted for 78.2% of the studies. All these countries are highly industrialized and democratic, and study populations are often highly educated and have a high income. However, there has been a strong and steady increase in publications from non-Western countries since 2012, indicating a trend towards globalization of positive psychology research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-501
JournalThe Journal of Positive Psychology: Dedicated to Furthering Research and Promoting Good Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

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