Full Text

Positive Psychology (History)

P. Alex Linley

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


Positive psychology as we know it today was inaugurated with Martin E. P. Seligman's Presidential Address delivered to the 107th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in Boston, Massachusetts, on August 21, 1999. Shifting focus from an established career as an international authority on depression, pessimism, and learned helplessness, Seligman proposed to his audience that psychology had largely neglected the latter two of its three pre-World War II missions: curing mental illness, helping all people to lead more productive and fulfilling lives, and identifying and nurturing high talent. The advent of the Veterans Administration (in 1946) and the National Institute of Mental Health (in 1947) had largely rendered psychology a healing discipline based upon a disease model and illness ideology, and Seligman resolved to use his APA Presidency to initiate a shift in psychology's focus toward a more positive psychology. Seligman's presidential initiative began with a series of meetings in Akumal, Mexico, of mid-career scholars who could inform the conceptualization and early development of positive psychology. The Akumal meetings ran annually from January 1999 (Akumal I) through January 2002 (Akumal IV). The first Positive Psychology Summit was held in September 1999 in Lincoln, Nebraska, followed by two further national Positive Psychology Summits in Washington, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top