Gender differences in the person-activity fit for positive psychology interventions

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The Journal of Positive Psychology


Research on positive psychology interventions (PPIs) has established the value of activities such as acts of kindness, gratitude, and savoring life’s joys, for increasing individuals’ sense of well-being. Critical to the efficacy of PPIs is person-activity fit – the degree activities stem from intrinsic motivation. Although person-activity fit effects are well documented, gaps remain in our understanding of how sociodemographic variables, particularly age and gender, play a role. We investigated how gender may affect self-reported person-activity fit across three PPIs: A gratitude journal; Acts of Kindness; and Savoring life’s joys. Age was explored since the subject sample ranged widely, from 18 to 51 years. Twenty-eight men and 82 women completed person-activity fit questionnaires. A multiple analysis of variance resulted in a main effect for gender, with women showing greater person-activity fit for all three PPIs. Among women only, age correlated significantly with person-activity fit for all three PPIs, suggesting greater maturational variability among men.