Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services


Counselor Education and Supervision

Committee Director

Christopher A. Sink

Committee Member

Emily C. Goodman-Scott

Committee Member

Karen Sanzo


An elevation in stress levels can be caused by many contributing factors, which can ultimately interfere with the learning of young people. Fortunately, an increase in well being can help promote resilience, creating a buffer to stress. Therefore, the current study investigated the influence of a positive psychology intervention aimed at lowering perceived stress and increasing well-being among at-promise students. The theoretical framework for this study was based on Ryff’s Model of Psychological Well-Being (PWB). The specific intervention used was the Well-being Therapy School Protocol developed by Fava and associates, based off of Carol Ryff’s Model of PWB (Fava, 2016). Well-Being therapy is fairly new and only a few studies have studied the effectiveness in school settings. Those studies took place with international samples and yielded positive results with students. The current study took place in the Southeastern part of the United States, with a high proportion of economically marginalized, African-American students that attended a high school with chronic attendance issues. The intervention was delivered through classroom lessons led by a professional school counselor, who serves a critical role in teaching mindsets and behaviors (ASCA, 2014). Participants completed two questionnaires: the Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983) and the 18-item Psychological Well-Being Scale (Ryff, 1989). Descriptive statistics and 2-way mixed factorial ANOVAs were conducted to answer each research question. In addition, one-way ANOVAs were used to seek improvements in perceived stress of female students. The results indicated an increase in overall well-being, as well as increases in environmental mastery and personal growth. There were no significant decreases in overall perceived stress for the combined participants. However, female students reported a significant decrease in perceived stress over time. The results of this study suggest Ryff’s Theory of Psychological Well-Being and the WBSP appears to be a useful framework that can be added to the professional school counselor’s intervention toolbox. Implications for school counseling practice and recommendations for future research are later discussed.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).