What is Covitality?

Currently, no single term consensus term has emerged to describe the co-occurrence of human strengths in the positive psychology literature, as with comorbidity when psychopathology is considered; however, researchers have begun to explore this concept. 

In the field of organizational leadership and human resource management, Luthans et al. (2007) have proposed a model to study workplace performance, which has been extended to study psychological well-being (Avery et al. 2011).  Luthans et al. (2007) used the term psychological capital to refer to the combined effects of hope, optimism, self-efficacy, and resilience to predict workplace success.  Similarly, in the field of behavioral biology, Weiss, King, and Enns (2002) used of the term covitality to describe the relations among positive traits such as well-being, self-confidence, and general health.  

In our research, we use the term covitality to describe the co-occurrence among positive constructs.  Our aim is to explore the viability of covitality as a possible conceptual organizer for the synergy of positive psychology constructs and their relations with psychological well-being from elementary school children through college students.  

We chose to use the term covitality because it captures a broad conceptualization that encompasses healthy and positive functioning across life domains.  In brief, our research aims to contribute to the study of optimal human functioning by examining the hypothesis that a combination of first-order positive psychology constructs map onto the second-order covitality construct, and that a model including covitality enhances the prediction of psychological well-being. Our research is finding support for this hypothesis.

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Introduction to the SEHS-Secondary Purpose, Content, and Research

Key References

Furlong, M. J., Dowdy, E., Carnazzo, K., Bovery, B., & Kim, E. (2014).  Covitality: Fostering the building blocks of complete mental health. NASP Communiqué, (June issue). Also available from www.readperiodicals.com/201406/3346560221.html  

Furlong, M. J., Gilman, R., & Huebner, E. S. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of positive psychology in the schools (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis.  

Kim, E. K., Furlong, M. J., Zi, J. N., & Huebner, E. S. (in press). Child well-being. In S. Hart & B. Nastasi (Eds.), International handbook on child rights in school psychology. New York, NY. Springer.

Renshaw, T. L., Furlong, M. J., Dowdy, E., Rebelez, J., Smith, D. C., O’Malley, … Strom, I. F. (2014). Covitality: A synergistic conception of adolescents’ mental health. In M. J. Furlong, R. Gilman, & E. S. Huebner (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology in the schools (2nd ed., pp. 12–32). New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

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