Does Writing Three Good Things Make Japanese People Happier?

Author Name SEKIZAWA Yoichi  (Senior Fellow, RIETI) /YOSHITAKE Naomi  (Ochanomizu University)
Creation Date/NO. November 2013 13-J-073
Research Project Research Project on Mental Health from the Perspective of Human Capital
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According to Seligman et al. (2005), writing three good things per day before going to bed over one week results in the reduction of depressive symptoms and increased happiness. In order to examine whether a similar exercise is effective on Japanese people, we carried out an internet-based randomized controlled study. A total of 1,000 adults were randomly allocated to the Three Good Things (TGT) group or the control group. Participants in the TGT group were assigned to write three good things at least twice per week for four weeks, while participants in the control group were assigned to write three memories of the past at least twice per week for four weeks. Results of the exercises showed that positive emotions were enhanced only in the TGT group at post-test, but this enhancement was not maintained at the one-month follow-up. For other measures (depressive symptoms, life satisfaction, optimism, and negative emotions), there were no significant changes both at post-test and the one-month follow up. However, the scores of the general trust scale were enhanced in both groups at post-test, and continued to be enhanced at the one-month follow-up.

The English version of this paper is 15-E-001.