Johnson, Frances

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OBJECTIVE: The science of happiness is part of the field of positive psychology, which should not be confused with positive thinking, self-help, or religious beliefs, but is considered a scientific evidence- based practice. The purpose of this quantitative, descriptive, study was to examine the relationship of education on the science of happiness and a gratitude intervention on subjective happiness and professional quality of life of mental health care providers.

METHODS: The mental healthcare providers for this study included psychiatrists, advanced practice nurses, physician’s assistants, psychologists, social -work and registered nurses in a large medical system in Tennessee and Kentucky. The PERMA and CREATION health theoretical models were used for this scholarly project. This study utilized two Survey Monkey surveys and included the Subjective Happiness Scale and the Professional Quality of Life: Compassion Satisfaction and Fatigue: Version Five (ProQOL) as pre- and post- tests. The intervention included viewing a video by Sonya Lyubomirsky on the science of happiness followed by the participants keeping a gratitude journal for three weeks. There was data obtained from three qualitative questions, concerning personal happiness, the effects of keeping a gratitude journal, and suggestions to improve overall professional quality of life.

RESULTS: The study was presented to 430 mental health providers in a large medical system in Tennessee and Kentucky in December 2020. Ten respondents completed both the pre and post-tests and the data were analyzed using a Wilcoxon Rank Test which did not show a statistically significant difference in the pre and post test scores after viewing the science of happiness video 5 THE SCIENCE OF HAPPINESS

and keeping the gratitude journal for three weeks. The data did show a moderate positive correlation between the subjective happiness scores and the secondary traumatic stress scores.

CONCLUSIONS: Although this study did not show a statistically significant difference on the overall subjective happiness and quality of life scales with the utilization of the interventions of the science of happiness education and the gratitude journaling, there was useful clinical data obtained. The data showed a moderate positive correlation between higher levels of happiness and secondary traumatic stress scores. It is theorized that the higher secondary traumatic stress scores are related to the increased empathy levels of the providers. Further research with this provider population may provide clues to causation, early diagnosis, and treatment modalities for burnout, compassion fatigue and secondary traumatic stress.