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Oxford University Press

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The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology

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As our capacity for communication with nations across the globe increases through the advances of technology, our interactions with others with different worldviews also become more frequent. This exposure to diversity on so many levels requires a better understanding of the multiple contexts in which people from different cultural backgrounds live and the strengths they possess that help them experience well-being. In order to define the characteristics that my be viewed as strengths in different groups, we must make efforts to remember that cultural rules and norms often dictate what can be called a strength versus a weakness. It is imperative that we are able to recognize that strengths may look very different in different contexts and that these diverse manifestations may come from a variety of worldviews. More work must be done in order to develop a better understanding of the way that cultural context plays a role in the operationalization, manifestation, and measurement of strengths in diverse groups. The following chapter provides a history of the connections between culture and positive psychology and discusses current issues regarding the link between cultural context and various personal characteristics. Examples from culturally sensitive positive psychology theory and research are also given in order to illustrate how researchers are better exploring positive psychology within a cultural context.


Published version. "Positive Psychology Within a Cultural Context" in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology. Eds. Shane J. Lopez and C. R. Snyder. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009: 48-57. DOI. © 2009 Oxford University Press. Used with permission.

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