Vesna Petrovic, Faculty of Law and Business Studies, Novi Sad, Department of Business Psychology


Positive psychology represents a 21st century movement in psychology. It is a
psychology aimed at researching optimal human functioning that empirically studies, first and
foremost, the concept of happiness, in addition to life satisfaction, optimism, virtues and suchlike
notions, which are used to measure the growth and development of human potential and
subjective well-being. This line of conceptualization and research is based on the disease model
and opens up new perspectives for both psychology as a science as well as the people it is
intended for. This paper elaborates the basic ideas and results of certain explorations relative to
positive psychology and positive orientation which comprises optimism, self-esteem and life

Keywords: positive psychology, positive orientation, happiness, health

Alessandri, G. (2008). An empirical test of the theory of positivity.Results from cross sectional,
longitudinal and genetic data. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, “Sapienza” University
of Rome, Italy.
Balkin, R. S., Tietjen-Smith, T., Caldwell, C., & Shen, Y. P. (2007). The utilization of exercise
to decrease depressive symptoms in young women. Adultspan Journal, 6(1), 30-35.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.
Baumeister, R. F. (1993) (Ed.). Self-esteem: The puzzle of low selfregard. New York: Plenum.
Baumeister, R. F., Campbell, J. D., Krueger, J. I., & Vohs, K. D. (2003). Does high self-esteem
cause better performance, interpersonal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyle?
Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 4, 1-44.
Caprara, G. V. (2002). Personality psychology: Filling the gap between basic processes and
molar functioning. In C. von Hofsten & L. Bakman (Eds.), Psychology at the turn of the
Millennium: Volume 2. Social, developmental and clinical perspectives (pp. 201-224).
Hove, East Sussex UK: Psychology Press.
Caprara, G. V. (2009). Positive orientation: Turning potentials into optimal functioning . The
European Health Psychologist, 11, 46 -48.
Caprara, G. V., Alessandri, G., Tisak, J., & Steca, P. (2009). Assessing positive orientation.
Submitted manuscript.
Caprara, G. V., Alessandri, G., Gunzenhauser, C., Peirò, J. M., Trommsdorff, G. & Yamaguchi,
S. (2009). Cross cultural findings attesting to what is in common to self-esteem, life
satisfaction and optimism. Preliminary Research Report, “Sapienza”, University of
Caprara, G. V., Delle Fratte, A., & Steca, P. (2002). Determinanti personali del benessere in
adolescenza: Indicatori e predittori (“Personal determinants of adolescents’ well-being:
indicators and predictors”). Psicologia Clinica dello Sviluppo, 2, 203-223.
Caprara, G. V., Fagnani, C., Alessandri, G., Steca, P., Gigantesco, A., Cavalli-Sforza, L., &
Stazi, M. A. (2009). Human optimal functioning. The genetics of positive orientation
towards self, life, and the future. Behaviour Genetics, 39(3), 277-284.
Caprara, G. V. & Steca, P. (2005). Affective and social self- regulatory efficacy beliefs as
determinants of positive thinking and happiness. European Psychologist, 4, 275-286.
Caprara, G. V. & Steca, P. (2006a). Affective and interpersonal self- regulatory efficacy beliefs
as determinants of subjective well-being. In A. Delle Fave (Ed.), Dimensions of
wellbeing. Research and intervention (pp.120.142). Milano: Franco Angeli.
Caprara, G. V. & Steca, P. (2006b). The contribution of self- regulatory efficacy beliefs in
managing affect and family relationships to positive thinking and hedonic balance.
Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 25, 601-625.
Caprara, G. V., Steca P., Alessandri, G., Abela, J. R. J., & McWhinnie, C. M. (2009). Positive
orientation: Explorations on what is common to life satisfaction, self-esteem, and
optimism. Submitted manuscript.
Carver, C. S. & Scheier, M. F. (2002). Optimism. In C. R. Snyder & J. L. Lopez (Eds.),
Handbook of positive psychology (pp.231-243). New York: Oxford University Press.
Positive psychology and positive orientation
Crocker, J. & Park, L. E. (2004). The costly pursuit of self-esteem. Psychological Bulletin, 130,
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1999). If we are so rich, why aren’t we happy? American Psychologist,
54(10), 821-827.
Èiksentmihalji, M. (1999). Tok. Novi Sad: Forum.
Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542-575.
Diener, E. & Suh, E. M. (2000). Culture and subjective wellbeing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Greenberg, J., Solomon, S., Pyszczynski, T., Rosenblatt, A., Burling, J., Lyon, et al. (1992). Why
do people need self-esteem? Converging evidence that self-esteem serves an anxietybuffering
function. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 913-922.
Hansen, C. J., Stevens, L. C., & Coast, J. R. (2001). Exercise duration and mood state: How
much is enough to feel better? Health Psychology 20, 267-275
Harter, S. (1999). The construction of the self: A developmental perspective. New York:
Hermon, D. A. & Hazler, R. J. (1999). Adherence to a wellness model and perceptions of
psychological well-being. Journal of Counseling & Development, 77, 339-346.
Johnson, L. D. (2009). Enjoy Life, Retrieved 26 november, 2010 from http://enjoylifebook.com/
Kanheman, D., Diener, E., & Schwarz, N. (Eds.) (1999). Wellbeing: the foundations of hedonic
psychology. New York: Russell Sage.
Kernis, M. H. (2003). Toward a conceptualization of optimal self-esteem. Psychological Inquiry,
14, 1-26.
Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequentp affect: Does
happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803-855.
Maruta, T., Colligan, R. C., Malinchoc, M., & Offord, K. P.(2000). Optimists vs. pessimist:
Survival rate medical patients over a 30-year period. Mayo Clinic Proceedings,75, 140-
Mihiã Lj. (2009). Uvod u pozitivnu psihologiju, Retrieved January 15, 2010 from
Peterson C., Park N., Seligman M. E. P. (2005). Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction:
the full life versus the empty life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6, 25-41
Pyszczynski, T., Greenberg, J., Solomon, S., Arndt, J., & Schimel, J. (2004). Why do people
need self-esteem? A theoretical and empirical review. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 435-
Salmon, P. (2001) Effects of physical exercise on anxiety, depression, and sensitivity to stress: A
unifying theory. Clinical Psychology Review 21, 33-61.
Scheier, M. F. & Carver, C. S. (1985). Optimism, coping, and health: Assessment and
implications of generalized outcome expectancies. Health Psychology, 4, 219-247.
Scheier, M. F. & Carver, C. S. (2001). Adapting to cancer: The importance of hope and purpose.
In A. Baum & B. L. Andersen (Eds.), Psychosocial interventions for cancer (pp.15-36).
Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Segerstrom, S. C., Taylor, S. E., Kemeny, M. E., & Fahey, J. L. (1998). Optimism is associated
with mood, coping, and immune change in response to stress. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology, 74, 1646-1655.
V. Petroviã
Seligman, M. (2010). State of Psychology .Retrieved September 23, 2010, from
Seligman, M. E. P. & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology. American Psychologist,
55, 5-14.
Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N. & Peterson, C. (2005) Positive Psychology progress:
empirical validation of interventions, American Psychologist, 60, 410- 421.
Takšiã V., Mohoriã T., i Munjas R (2006). Emocionalna inteligencija: teorija,
operacionalizacija, primjena i povezanost s pozitivnom psihologijom. Retrieved july 7,
2010 from: http://hrcak.srce.hr/index.php?show=clanak&id_clanak_jezik=16712
Teychenne, M., Ball, K. & Salmon, J. (2010). Physical activity, sedentary behavior and
depression among disadvantaged women. Helth Education Researches, 25(4), 632-44.