Human thriving: a conceptual debate and literature review

Daniel J. Brown, Rachel Arnold, David Fletcher, Martyn Standage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

345 Downloads (Pure)


Humans have an inherent drive for self-improvement and growth (Maslow, 1965; Ryan & Deci, 2002). In a quest to understand how humans achieve fulfilment, researchers have sought to explain why some individuals thrive in certain situations, whereas others merely survive or succumb. The topic of thriving has become popular with scholars, resulting in a divergent body of literature and a lack of consensus on the key processes that underpin the construct. In view of such differences, the purpose of this paper is threefold: (i) to review a number of existing theoretical and conceptual debates, and to propose a conceptualization of thriving applicable across different populations and domains; (ii) to consolidate pertinent bodies of extant thriving research and identify key personal and contextual enablers to inform applied practice; and (iii) to identify noteworthy gaps within existing literature so as to make recommendations for future research and, ultimately, support the development of effective psychosocial interventions for thriving.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-179
JournalEuropean Psychologist
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2017


  • functioning
  • health
  • performance
  • thrive
  • well-being


Dive into the research topics of 'Human thriving: a conceptual debate and literature review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this