Editor’s Choice Awards: Frontiers in Psychology (Positive Psychology)

In March 2021, Frontiers in Psychology launched a new section dedicated to the scientific advancement of Positive Psychology. This new section aimed to provide an interdisciplinary platform for disseminating cutting-edge scientific research on the science and practice of positive psychology. Over the last year, the section established itself as the 12th most popular within the entire Psychology collection, with more than 273 submissions and 17 special issues submitted from 6 continents and 55 countries. It also gained a significant amount of international exposure, with the editors being invited to represent the section at several international positive psychology societies and conferences. The editorial board comprises 2 Specialty Chief Editors, 31 Associate Editors, and 145 Review Editors who collaborate closely to ensure high-quality reviews and fast turnaround times to fast track the dissemination of scientific discoveries. 

Over the past year, the section's success depended heavily upon a close, symbiotic relationship between the editorial office, the editorial board (associate and review editors), and our contributing authors. Although each of these stakeholders played a significant role in growing the section, a few outliers have gone above and beyond the call of duty this year. With this significant contribution in mind, we want to recognize and reward those who made a significant contribution to our section’s growth over the past year. It is with this sentiment in mind that we are delighted to announce the winners of the Frontiers in Psychology (Positive Psychology) Editor’s Choice Awards for Outstanding (a) Associate Editors, (b) Review Editors and (c) Best Paper Awards.

Outstanding Associate- and Review Editors’ Awards for 2021

During the first year of the section’s life cycle, the following associate- and review editors have shown tremendous commitment to the growth of the section and the advancement of our science. As an associate editor, they have given unconditionally of their time, expertise and work capacity to help further our cause and made a remarkable impact in the first year of our section's history. We are genuinely appreciative for the large number of manuscripts they managed this year, the efficiency in the turnaround time between submission and the first round of review, and the consistently high-quality, detailed and thoughtful recommendations that they provided to our authors. In recognition of their exemplary service, dedication and contribution, the editorial board and editorial office have decided to award the following individuals with the Frontiers in Psychology (Positive Psychology) Outstanding Associate Editor and Review Editor Awards for 2021:

Outstanding Associate Editors Awards:

  1. Prof. Jeff J. Klibert, Georgia Southern University, USA

  2. Prof. Rebecca Shankland, Université Lumiere Lyon 2, France

  3. Prof. Mirna Nel, North-West University, South Africa

  4. Prof. Hans Henrik Knoop, Aarhus University, Denmark

  5. Dr. Arianna Constantini, University of Trento, Italy

Outstanding Review Editors Awards:

  1. Prof. Piers Worth, Buckinghamshire New University, United Kingdom

  2. Dr. Ilona Boniwell, Anglia University, United Kingdom

  3. Dr. Lisa Wagner, University of Zurich, Switzerland

  4. Dr. Marcos Carmona-Halty, Universidad de Tarapaca, Chile

Best Paper Awards:

In 2021, the Positive Psychology section received 273 manuscript submissions, where 142 were finally accepted for publication. Although each of these accepted manuscripts made a significant contribution to the advancement of the science and practice of positive psychology, three were among the most widely read and influential in the first year of the section’s history.

These three articles received notable attention both within the academic community and popular psychological press and offered important insights into specific aspects of positive psychology. Based on their contribution, the Specialty Chief Editors are delighted to announce the winners of the Frontiers in Psychology (Positive Psychology) Best Paper Awards for 2021.

  1. Measuring what counts in life: The development and initial validation of the Fulfilled Life Scale (FLS) by Dr. Doris Baumann & Prof. Willibald Ruch. In this paper the authors. The paper expanded upon a new model for fulfilment in life by providing a valid and reliable measuring instrument that measures the cognitive and affective components thereof. Their results showed support for three facets of overall fulfilment in life: unfolded self and life, the worthwhile life, and positive impact and legacy. The study further showed that the fulfilled life scale captures people’s experiences of a fulfilled life, which could not be assessed sufficiently with previous wellbeing measures. They also found that fulfilment in life is an essential and important predictor of mental wellbeing. This paper provides a starting point for an exciting new field of research in positive psychology.

  2. What time alone offers: Narratives of solitude from adolescence to older adulthood by Prof. Netta Weinstein, Dr. Thuy-vy Nguyen and Dr. Heather Hansen. The purpose of this paper was to explore the potential benefits of solitude across different age groups. Their results found that solitude may have a number of self-report benefits for the individual: (a) feeling competent, (b) having more autonomy), (b) facilitating self-growth, (c) improved interpersonal connections, (d) enhanced self-care and (e) created a deeper appreciation of the environment. However, they also noted that solitude may also disrupt wellbeing (leading to a loss of familiarity, a lack of structure, little physical activity and a lack of human contact) as well as alienation (disrupted relationships and missing human contact).

    They also showed that with the exception of feeling competent in solitude, which was described frequently but consistently unrelated to self-reported wellbeing regardless of age, benefits of solitude tended to shift over the lifespan. Some qualities, such as a sense of autonomy (self-connection and reliance; absence of pressure), were salient and consequential for everyone, but increasingly so from adolescence to older adulthood. Older adults also reported feeling most peaceful in solitude and described their social connection and alienation less frequently, suggesting they see solitude and social time as more distinct states. In essence, their paper provides one of the first to show the value of solitude in relation to people's overall wellbeing across one’s life span. This paper is poised to make a substantial contribution to expanding the scope of positive psychology during its third wave.

  3. In Memory of Edward Diener: Reflections on his career, contributions and the science of happiness by Profs Weiting Ng et al. During 2021, the positive psychological community lost one of its founding members: Prof. Ed Diener (1946-2021). In this paper, the authors provided a narrative reflection and tribute to the life, career and contributions of Prof. Diener to the advancement of the science of happiness. The authors, some of which worked directly with Prof. Diener, reflected upon the development of the science of happiness over the past 40 years, and how such influenced (a) the measurement of wellbeing, (b) the building blocks for subjective wellbeing, and (c) international policy. Proffs. Ruut Veenhoven, Will Tov and Weiting Ng also provided personal narratives and reflections on their work with Ed Diener and how his way of thinking advanced our understanding of one of the fundamental elements of the human experience. This manuscript not only paid tribute to the life and times of one of the founding members of the discipline but was also one of the most accessed, read and distributed papers during 2021.


We are extremely privileged to have had the support of these outstanding associate editors, review editors and authors during 2021. We hope that 2022 will yield a similar amount of success, and that we would have more opportunities to celebrate the contributions of our stakeholders to the advancement of our discipline. Congratulations again to our winners.

In sincere appreciation Sebastiaan (Ian) Rothmann, Llewellyn van Zyl, Lydia Campbell-Black & Monika Minaroy.