Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
Kathleen Gathercoal, Ph.D.
Mark McMinn, Ph.D.
Marie-Christine Goodworth, Ph.D.
Joy is examined in all the major world religions and is integral to religious life within some traditions. Joy is also important to human flourishing, however, to date the psychological study of joy has been very limited. Recent research has yielded a joy measure and delineated joy as a distinct emotion from happiness, but no prior research had tested an intervention to increase joy. The current research designed and investigated such an intervention. This intervention incorporated both religious and psychological dimensions in conceptualizing joy. Concepts of joy from Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu and Christian traditions were examined and found to include components of connection to another, lack of engagement with the temporal, lack of envy, and the physical act of expressing joy. Concepts of joy from a psychological perspective were found to include social engagement, reward, and the capacity to reflect and appreciate. These concepts were the combined focus of the designed intervention that was delivered in an online moodletype format over a four-week period. It was hypothesized that the intervention would increase joy and further demonstrate joy to be a distinct emotion from happiness. Due to the limited sample size (n = 20, experimental condition = 15, control condition = 5), no difference was found over time across measures. However, effect size indicated those in the experimental condition experienced increased state joy (State Joy Scale d’ = .95). The intervention did not impact trait joy. Further, joy and happiness measures produced different results which may indicate the joy measure performs as expected. Results suggest state joy may be increased via intervention in an online format, but further research with a larger sample is needed.
Wade, Lanaya, "A Joy Intervention" (2021). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 348.