1. In this meta-analysis, the effectiveness of interventions aimed at increasing mental wellbeing were compared in both clinical and non-clinical populations.
2. Across all study populations, mindfulness-based and multi-component positive psychological interventions demonstrated positive impacts on wellbeing.
Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)
Research into mental wellbeing has significantly improved as mental health has become prioritized as an aspect of overall health. Accordingly, the volume of research into interventions aimed at increasing mental wellbeing has expanded substantially. Due to heterogeneity of study populations and methodology, it is unclear whether there are interventions which broadly have a positive impact on mental wellbeing.
The present meta-analysis aimed to analyze the current literature on the efficacy of mental wellbeing interventions. Randomized control trials (RCTs) using a validated wellbeing measure to compare psychological interventions were included. RCTs were excluded if participants were cognitively impaired or if they utilized an intervention that was not exclusively psychological. Outcomes included improvements to wellbeing in the general population, in individuals with mental illness, and in individuals with physical illness.
A total of 419 RCTs were included which had a pooled 53,288 participants. Both multi-component positive psychological interventions and mindfulness-based therapy showed significant increases in wellbeing across all populations. Acceptance and commitment therapy, reminiscence interventions, multi-theoretical interventions, single-component positive psychological interventions, and cognitive behavioral therapy increased wellbeing in the general population. Cognitive behavioral therapy, reminiscence interventions, and single-component positive psychological interventions improved wellbeing in those with mental illness. Multi-theoretical interventions significantly improved wellbeing in those with physical illness. Limitations included heterogeneity across studies, degrees of effect size, and lack of inclusion of grey literature. Overall, the present meta-analysis suggests that multi-component positive psychological interventions and mindfulness-based therapy are the most widely effective interventions for improving mental wellbeing.
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