School-based multicomponent positive psychology interventions on well-being and distress — evidence summary

Summary of the evidence


School-based multicomponent positive psychology interventions aim at increasing well-being indicators of mental health (i.e., subjective and psychological well-being) and reducing the most common psychological distress indicators (i.e., depression, anxiety, and stress) in adolescents. Positive psychology interventions originated as scientifically-based interventions that focus on strengthening positive emotions, thoughts, and behaviors through activities that can be easily implemented in daily routines. Multicomponent positive psychology interventions are based on a variety of individual exercises targeting two or more theoretically relevant well-being components and are conducted within an integral program, decreasing the risk of relapse and increasing the probability of spill-over effects and synergy between activities, thus being more likely to provide long-term effects.

School-based multicomponent positive psychology interventions were found in a systematic review with meta-analysis (Tejada-Gallardo et al., 2020, 9 studies, N= 4 898) to be effective in improving:

  • subjective well-being (g = 0.24, 95% CI 0.11–0.38, p = 0.000),
  • psychological wellbeing (g = 0.25, 95% CI 0.01–0.51, p <0.05),
  • and depression symptoms (g = 0.28, 95% CI 0.13–0.43, p = 0.000).

Removing low-quality studies led to a slight decrease in the effect sizes for subjective well-being and a considerable increase for psychological well-being and depression symptoms.


Note: this evidence summary is only valid for the outcomes, target groups, settings and substances/patterns of use described below.

Name of response option:
Multi-component prevention interventions
Desired outcome(s):
improve behavioural life skills
improve mental health outcomes
improve psychosocial functioning
Specific substance or pattern of use:
not-drug specific
Target group(s) or setting(s):