Il concetto di salute mentale: Una critica a Vaillant

Translated title of the contribution: A critique of Vaillant's concept of positive mental health

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vaillant (2003) argued that we should focus more on increasing positive mental health rather than just decreasing mental disorder, and summarized six models of positive mental health, suggesting that they should be integrated and studied empirically. The author argues that their integration and study is premature. Conceptual analysis is required first to establish which models fall within a coherent conceptual domain of positive mental health, and whether any such domain exists beyond absence of disorder. Models that can be defended as truly about health are in fact models of designed human nature in which the presence of health is equivalent to absence of disorder in Wakefield's (2004) sense of harmful evolutionary dysfunction. Vaillant's models that go beyond absence of disorder confuse other non-health values with health itself, and thus illegitimately smuggle cultural values into the evolutionarily rooted realm of medical judgments of health.

Translated title of the contributionA critique of Vaillant's concept of positive mental health
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)91-96
Number of pages6
JournalPsicoterapia e Scienze Umane
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


  • Dysfunction
  • Mental disorder
  • Philosophical foundations
  • Positive mental health
  • Values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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