[Illustration © Nick Watts 2008 created for Sue Roffey and used with permission]
Relationships, more than anything else, are at the crux of our happiness or misery. We acknowledge that there is a vast literature on this subject and that we can only touch here on some salient points. We introduce the Harvard longitudinal research on how relationships matter for wellbeing, but emphasise that it is not only close relationships, but also those in family, community, organisations and at the socio-political level that make the difference. There is bi-directional influence between all these systems, including across time – meaning that things can change. We explore the importance of emotional literacy for establishing and maintaining healthy relationships and dealing well with conflict. The section on the value of having a positive sense of self is followed by a brief exposition of the six ASPIRE principles of Agency, Safety, Positivity, Inclusion, Respect and Equity that together underpin all healthy relationships. These are aligned with the positive psychology principles and core competencies. The chapter ends with the Golden Rule – treat others as you would wish to be treated.
- Sue Roffey (Ed.) (2013) Positive Relationships: Evidence Based Practice across the World. Springer.
- Dominic Abrams, Michael Hogg & José Marques (Eds.) (2005) The Social Psychology of Inclusion and Exclusion. Psychology Press.
- Christopher Hand, Greg Maciejewski & Joanne Ingram (2021) Lockdown mental fatigue rapidly reversed by social contact, study finds. The Conversation, April 6, 2021.
- Salma Mousa (2019) Creating Coexistence: Intergroup Contact and Soccer in Post-ISIS Iraq. Stanford University. [Study referenced in the last 20 mins of The Violence Paradox documentary]
Wayne Dyer (2004). Staying on the Path. Hay House Inc.
Why are positive relationships so important for wellbeing?
- Harvard Study of Adult Development
- The Harvard Gazette (2017). Good genes are nice, but joy is better.
- Wayne Baker & Jane Dutton (2007) Enabling positive social capital in organizations. In Jane Dutton & Belle Rose Ragins (Eds.), Exploring positive relationships at work: Building a theoretical and research foundation (325–346). Lawrence Erlbaum.
- Wendy Stone & Jody Hughes (2001) What role for social capital in family policy–and how does it measure up? Australian Institute for Family Studies.
- Tristan Claridge (2018) What is the difference between bonding and bridging social capital? Social Capital Research & Training.
- Madeleine Leonard (2004) Bonding and Bridging Social Capital: Reflections from Belfast. Sociology, 38: 927–944.
- Jennifer Spratt, Janet Shucksmith, Kate Philip & Cate Watson (2006) Part of who we are as a school should include responsibility for wellbeing: Links between the school environment, mental health and behaviour. Pastoral Care, September 2006, 14–21.
A positive sense of self
- William Huitt (2009) Self-concept and self-esteem. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta State University.
- Man Ye Ho, Fanny Cheung & Shu Fai Cheung (2010) The role of meaning in life and optimism in promoting well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 48(5), 658-663.
- Nicola Schutte & John Malouff (2019) Impact of Signature Character Strengths Interventions: A Meta-analysis. Journal of Happiness Studies 20, 1179–1196
- Ciro Conversano, Alessandro Rotondo, Elena Lens, Olivia Della Vista<, Francesca Arpone & Mario Antonio Reda (2010) Optimism and its impact on mental and physical well-being. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health, 6, 25–29.
- Leah Dickens (2017) Using gratitude to promote positive change. A series of meta-analyses investigating the effectiveness of gratitude interventions. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 4, 192–208.
- Edo Shonin, William Van Gordon & Mark Griffiths (2015) Does mindfulness work? Reasonably convincing evidence in depression and anxiety British Medical Journal BMJ 2015;351:h6919
- Karen Majors (2012) Friendships: The Power of Positive Alliance. In Sue Roffey (Ed.), Positive Relationships: Evidence Based Practice Across the World. Springer.
- Positioning Theory
- Audre Lord (1997) The Uses of Anger. Women’s Studies Quarterly, 25(1/2), 278-285.
- Steven Pinker (2011) The Better Angels of our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and its Causes. Allen Lane.
- Steven Pinker (2017) Has the Decline of Violence Reversed since The Better Angels of Our Nature was Written? [Answer: No!] stevenpinker.com.
- Willard Enteman (2003) Stereotyping, Prejudice and Discrimination. In Paul Martin Lester & Susan Dente Ross (Eds.), Images that Injure: Pictorial Stereotypes in the Media. (pp 16-21).
Learning about relationships
- Joseph Durlak, Roger Weissberg, Allison Dymnicki, Rebecca Taylor & Kriston Schellinger (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: a meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405–432.
- Sue Roffey (2017) The ASPIRE Principles and Pedagogy for the Implementation of Social and Emotional Learning and the Development of Whole School Well-Being, in International Journal of Emotional Education, 9(2): 59-71
ASPIRE to positive relationships
- Sue Roffey (Ed.) (2012) Positive Relationships: Evidence Based Practice Across the World. Springer.
- Mental Health Foundation (2021) The relationship you have with yourself.
- Richard Ryan & Edward Deci (2017) Self-Determination Theory – Basic Psychological Needs in Motivation, Development and Wellness. Guilford Press.
- [Coercive control is now illegal in the UK and Ireland]
- Empowering Others
- Donnah Anderson & Anne Graham (2016) Improving wellbeing: having a say at school. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 27(3), 348–356.
- Karina Schumann (2012) Does love mean never having to say you’re sorry? Associations between relationship satisfaction, perceived apology sincerity, and forgiveness. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 29(7), 997-1010.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2018) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Stolen Generations and descendants. Numbers, demographic characteristics and selected outcomes. Australian Government.
- John Gottman & Nan Silver (2007). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Orion.
- The Gottman Institute YouTube channel.
- Shelly Gable, Hairy Reis, Emily Impett & Evan Asher (2004). What do you do when things go right? The intrapersonal and interpersonal benefits of sharing positive events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87(2), 228–245.
- Charter for Compassion
- Sue Roffey (2013) Inclusive and exclusive belonging – the impact on individual and community well-being. Educational and Child Psychology, 30(1), 38-49.
- Isaac Prilleltensky (2020) Mattering at the Intersection of Psychology, Philosophy and Politics. American Journal of Community Psychology, 65,16–34
- Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities (2012) Thinking About Inclusion: Taking Personal and Corporate Responsibility for Welcoming Everyone.
- Appreciative Inquiry is a way of putting respect into practice:
David Cooperider & Diana Whitney (2005) Appreciative Inquiry: A positive revolution in change. Berrett-Koehler
- Golnaz Tabibnia & Matthew Leiderman (2007) Fairness and cooperation are rewarding: Evidence from social cognitive neuroscience. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1118, 90-101.
- Wayne McCashen (2005, 2017) The Strengths Approach: A strengths based resource for sharing power and creating change. St Luke’s Innovative Resources.