Cost-effectiveness of online positive psychology: Randomized controlled trial

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Linda Bolier
  • Cristina Majo
  • Filip Smit
  • Gerben J. Westerhof
  • Merel Haverman
  • Jan A. Walburg
  • Heleen Riper
  • Ernst Bohlmeijer

As yet, no evidence is available about the cost-effectiveness of positive psychological interventions. When offered via the Internet, these interventions may be particularly cost-effective, because they are highly scalable and do not rely on scant resources such as therapists' time. Alongside a randomized controlled trial of an online positive psychological intervention, a health-economic evaluation was conducted. Mild to moderately depressed adults seeking self-help and recruited in the general population were randomly assigned to the intervention group (n = 143) and a waitlisted usual care group (n = 141). Improved clinical outcomes were achieved in the intervention group (at least for depression) at higher costs. When outliers (the top 2.5%, n = 5 in intervention group, n = 2 in control group) were removed, cost-effectiveness was increased considerably. For positive psychology, economic evaluations may be a means to nudge policy decision-makers towards placing positive psychological interventions on the health agenda.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Positive Psychology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)460-471
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 09.2014

    Research areas

  • Health sciences - cost-effectiveness, Depression, economic evaluation, positive psychology, Randomized controlled trial, Well-being