Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
This study is aiming to increase positive feelings in peoples everyday lives.
Who can participate?
Healthy male and female students between the age of 18 and 21 from a UK University can take part in this study.
What does the study involve?
Participants are randomly allocated to either the control group (who do not receive the smartphone app)or the intervention group, who receive a smartphone intervention that will give short positive psychological activities for them to complete three times a day for two days. They will complete questionnaires on the level of positive emotions they are experiencing. Psychological measures and behaviour will be assessed for all the participants. Feedback from participants in the intervention group will be requested at the end of the study.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
The benefits of taking part are that participants who get the smartphone app will learn new strategies for increasing the level of positive emotions in their everyday lives. No side effects are anticipated in either the control or the intervention group.
Where is the study run from?
School of Psychology, University of Leicester, Lancaster Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK.
When is study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
The study will start in March 2014 and will run for about a week.
Who is funding the study?
The study is funded by Unilever (UK).
Who is the main contact?
Professor Robert Hurling
Evaluating the impact of positive psychology activities delivered through a smartphone application
Provision of short positive psychology activities to individuals will increase levels of positive emotions relative to a control group.
Leicester University Ethics Committee, 01/10/2013, ref. jm148-8bbd
Randomised stratified parallel single-centred single-blind controlled trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet
This is an exploratory study where student participants recruited from a University psychology department are randomised into an intervention or a control group.
The study is run over 4 days. The first 2 days are used to gather baseline measures for both groups to include self-report scales: e.g. PANAS and mood measure questions on how joyful, positive, optimistic, and grateful they report feeling. At the end of the 2-day baseline period there are a series of self-report scales to complete:
1. Ten Item Personality Inventory (10 items)
2. Aaker Brand Personality measure (35 items)
3. Brand equity measure (10 items)
4. Positive Emotional Intensity Scale (items to be confirmed, referring to last 2 days)
5. PANAS (full version - 20 items, referring to last 2 days)
6. Satisfaction with Life Scale (5 items)
7. Short Measure of Adult Playfulness (5 items)
8. A self-report measure of gifting behaviour for ice cream and other gifts (referring to last 2 days)
At the start of the third day the intervention group receive a smartphone app and are requested to use it at least three times per day for the next 2 days. It asks a few questions and then suggests a couple of positive psychology tips. One of the tips is completed and then rated by the user.
The control group do not receive the app.
Both groups are asked how they are feeling, three times per day via a survey monkey link sent to their smartphone.
At the end of the study both groups complete the same series of self-report scales as before.
Primary outcome measure
Level of positive emotion
Questionnaire results over 4 days and specific timepoints and frequency of application use over 2 days.
Secondary outcome measures
Frequency and style of application usage.
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Lack of staff/facilities/resources
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Male/female over 18
2. Owns a smartphone and agrees to download a research application
3. Available for study duration
4. Able to access study centre and use their smartphone unaided
5. Not taking medication or currently undergoing counselling
Target number of participants
200 participants (100 intervention, 100 control group)
Participant exclusion criteria
Taking medication or currently undergoing counselling
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Unilever R & D
Funding Body Type
private sector organisation
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Not provided at time of registration
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Not provided at time of registration
Basic results (scientific)