Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being Editorial

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The International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP) in conjunction with the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) has launched Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being (AP:HWB). Our aim is to meet the needs of the members of the associations as well as the larger community of psychologists interested in how to promote health and optimal functioning. IAAP is the oldest worldwide association of scholars and practitioners of the discipline of psychology (founded in 1920). It has 16 divisions that cover the broad range of applied psychology. The current IAAP journal, Applied Psychology: An International Review (AP:IR), now in its 57th volume, has been successful, but in order to address the diversity of the society and its affiliates, a second journal seems appropriate.

The mission of this new journal is to provide readers with outstanding articles that present, from an international perspective, the latest data and best practices in the application of psychology to the promotion of well-being and optimal functioning. The keyword “well-being” has been linked to only 20 journal articles in the year 1999, but to 300 articles in 2006. Such a steep increase in publications on this emerging topic underscores the need for a suitable outlet for research.

Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being is a peer-reviewed outlet for the scholarly dissemination of scientific findings and practical applications in the domains of health and well-being. Articles are encouraged from all areas of applied psychology including clinical, health, counseling, educational, sport, organisational, cross-cultural, and environmental psychology. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being will include empirical work, theoretical papers, description of model intervention programmes, case studies, controversial debates, and reviews. Particular emphasis will be given to intervention studies (e.g. randomised controlled trials) and meta-analytic reviews. We envision special theme issues as well, and we invite suggestions.

This inaugural issue contains 11 articles—position papers, literature reviews, and empirical reports. Their purpose is to illustrate the diversity of fields within psychology that pertain to health and well-being. Martin Seligman introduces the theoretical construct of “positive health” that may predict increased longevity, decreased health costs, better mental health in aging, and better prognosis when illness strikes. Peterson, Park, and Sweeney argue that group morale should be a primary focus of researchers interested in health and well-being because it is within groups that we live, work, love, and play. Diener, Kesebir, and Lucas make a case that national accounts of well-being will add important information beyond existing social and economic indicators, and they offer examples of areas where measures of subjective well-being could assist policy-makers in enhancing quality of life. The position article by James Maddux challenges the “illness ideology” that has prevailed in clinical psychology for the past century and then offers a statement of a new mission for and vision of clinical psychology based on the values of positive psychology. Nikitin and Freund combine a developmental and a positive psychology view, discussing whether and how the desire to belong (approach motivation) and the fear of being rejected (avoidance motivation) might be of particular importance for understanding success or failure in the transition from adolescence into adulthood. This has significance for life satisfaction and well-being. Antaramian, Huebner, and Valois report on the relationship between family structure and optimal adolescent functioning. Whether students lived in intact, single-parent, or stepparent families was related to family satisfaction and to living environment satisfaction. The article by Schaer, Bodenmann, and Klink reports original data on the efficacy of a couple-oriented prevention programme in the context of the workplace. After the intervention, participants scored higher in relationship variables (such as communication and dyadic coping) as well as in individual variables (e.g. burnout). Klusmann, Kunter, Trautwein, Lüdtke, and Baumert provide a contribution from educational psychology with a focus on teacher engagement. They examine the association between school-specific demands and resources, on the one hand, and engagement and exhaustion, on the other, which implies a multi-level analysis to identify school-level sources in conjunction with individual-level sources of teacher engagement. In the same field, Schwarzer and Hallum investigate perceived teacher self-efficacy as a putative factor that might prevent job stress and burnout, with a particular focus on mediation models. Stroebe, Papies, and Aarts, in a study on dietary behaviours, present their innovative goal conflict theory of hedonic eating, based on the assumption that human food consumption in food-rich environments is increasingly driven by pleasure rather than need for calories. Finally, Reuter, Ziegelmann, Wiedemann, and Lippke demonstrate a new experimental approach to mediator effects, using dietary planning as a target variable in two consecutive health interventions.

The present issue is a supplement to AP:IR in order to obtain maximum exposure and distribution. In the future, this journal will be published as an independent journal. We are optimistic that Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being will become a stimulating and innovative forum for scientific debate and for the dissemination of insights from theory, research, and practice.

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