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Carolyn M. Youssef-Morgan and Lanell Craig

Work–life balance can promote employee well-being and productivity, as well as organizational competitiveness, financial performance, and sustainability. This chapter discusses the role of work–life balance in alleviating stress and promoting well-being. Furthermore, psychological capital (PsyCap), a multidimensional positive psychological construct that includes hope, efficacy, resilience and optimism, is proposed as an additive and interactive resource that can influence stress and well-being, both directly, as well as indirectly through boosting the favorable impact of work–life balance and alleviating the harmful effects of stress on well-being. Potential mechanisms for the proposed linkages are discussed. Implications for research and practice end 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.