CUP Undergraduate Research


Alcoholics Anonymous Construed Through Positive Psychology

Date of Award

Winter 12-1-2011

Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis


College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences



Degree Name

Psychology, BA

First Advisor

Erin Mueller, PhD


The 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are construed through positive psychology. A content analysis aligns the constituent principles of each Step, as found in the AA Big Book and 12x12, with concepts found in the positive psychology literature. Among these principles of the 12-Steps are: honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, humility, willingness, brotherly love, justice, perseverance, spirituality, and service (AA, 2001; AA, 1981; AA 1951). Many of these principles are the same as those universal strengths and virtues described in the positive psychology literature (Peterson & Seligman, 2004; Seligman, 2002). The promises, or effects, of working the 12-Steps are also identified as exemplifications of the upward spiral found in the broaden-and-build theory (Frederickson, 1998).

Honors: Thesis with Distinction Award

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