The effects of positive psychology interventions in Arab countries: A systematic review

Asma A. Basurrah, Zelda Di Blasi, Louise Lambert, Mike Murphy, Meg A. Warren, Annalisa Setti, Mohammed Al-Haj Baddar, Topaz Shrestha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


While there is evidence for the effects of positive psychology interventions (PPIs) in the Western world, we know little about their effects on Arab cultures. This review aimed to assess the effects of PPIs on well-being and mental health across Arab countries. Systematic searches of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-experimental studies investigating PPIs in Arabia were conducted in six English and Arabic databases from the inception of positive psychology in 1998 to 28 February 2022. The quality of the studies was assessed using the Cochrane risk-of-bias tools. The protocol was published in the BMJ Open. Forty-four studies from 10 Arab countries (n = 3598 participants) were included. Of these, 12 were RCTs and 32 were quasi-experimental. The studies mainly focused on adults (73%) and healthy populations (86%). PPIs included mindfulness, positive thinking, strengths, hope, optimism, self-compassion, positive traits, and multiple PPIs. Nearly all studies (91%) mentioned cultural adaptation; however, little detail was given. This is the first review in Arabia. PPIs appear to be effective for promoting well-being and reducing mental health issues. However, there were some risks of bias concerns. Future research should include younger and clinical populations, using larger samples and providing more details about adaptation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Psychology: Health and Well-Being
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Arab countries
  • mental health
  • positive psychology interventions
  • systematic review
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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