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Carolyn M. Youssef-Morgan and Barbara L. Ahrens

This chapter presents evidence supporting gratitude as an antidote to work stress and a viable approach for promoting employee well-being. Gratitude has received increased attention because of the renewed interest in positive psychology. Conceptualizations of gratitude are presented, including gratitude as a virtue, a trait, an affective state, and a cognition. Mechanisms linking gratitude to stress and well-being are discussed, including social support, cognitive appraisals and positive reframing, broadening and building, and coping. Implications for research and practice conclude the chapter.

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Carolyn M. Youssef-Morgan, Barbara L. Ahrens, Kristi Bockorny, Lanell Craig and Matthew Peters

Psychological capital (PsyCap) is a multidimensional psychological resource that has emerged in the organizational literature and received notable attention due to its solid theoretical foundation, valid and reliable measures, impact on work-related outcomes, and evidence of malleability and developmental potential. However, to date, positivity in general, and more specifically PsyCap applications, in the public sector remain scarce in the literature. This chapter explores some of these unique applications. After a general overview of PsyCap, including its definition, constituent resources, underlying mechanisms, and development processes, PsyCap is applied to four specific public sector contexts in the United States: fire departments, the Air Force, K-12 education, and higher education. The four case studies showcase specific practices and dynamics that can foster positivity and PsyCap, as well as challenges that can hinder PsyCap development.