Purdue University Graduate School
2023.6.5 Suzhen Duan.pdf (1.88 MB)


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posted on 2023-06-05, 17:21 authored by Suzhen DuanSuzhen Duan

Best possible self (BPS) is one of the most widely used positive psychology interventions shown in the laboratory to effectively improve participants’ overall well-being in both the short- and long-term. However, limited research has been conducted in real-world contexts. This dissertation aims to explore the practical application of BPS integrated into the instructional design for reflective activities in real-world class settings. Three papers were included in this dissertation conducted in both undergraduate (preservice teachers) and graduate (novice instructional designers) classes: the first paper examined BPS’s effects in promoting preservice teachers’ overall well-being through a quantitative method; the second paper measured BPS’s effects in improving preservice teachers’ attitudes towards technology integration through a quantitative approach; the third paper explored novice instructional designers’ attitudes towards BPS and the relationships with their well-being (gains) and personality through mixed methods. 

The first paper (chapter 2) examined BPS’s long-term effects in improving participants’ overall well-being compared with the control group through a quasi-experimental design. Results from a 2 × 3 mixed ANOVA indicate that BPS did not significantly improve the participants’ well-being over time compared with the control group. In fact, the control group performed better than treatment one month after the intervention. This result aligns with findings of well-being during COVID-19. 

The second paper (chapter 3) measured BPS’s effect in improving preservice teachers’ attitudes towards technology integration. Even though the results show that BPS did not improve participants’ attitudes towards technology integration statistically significantly compared with the control group (possibly because of impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic), the results are promising because: first, inside the treatment group, the result shows BPS improved participants’ attitudes significantly; second, under the pandemic, literature reported that BPS was not as effective as in normal situations; however, the activities in the control group might be more effective under the pandemic.

The third paper (chapter 4) explored novice instructional designers’ attitudes towards BPS and the relationship between attitudes, well-being, and personality. Pearson correlation results show significant correlations among attitudes, subjective well-being (gains), and openness to experience. In addition, the results from open-ended questions confirmed participants’ positive attitudes towards the BPS. Taken together, the findings from three papers contribute to the practical application of BPS in real-world class settings, especially under the unique pandemic situation. More studies are needed to explore the application of positive psychology interventions in instructional design in real-world settings.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Curriculum and Instruction

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Timothy Newby

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Marisa Exter

Additional Committee Member 2

Sunnie Watson

Additional Committee Member 3

Zui Cheng