To determine whether positive affect predicts mortality among people with diabetes and among a comparison group of people with no chronic health conditions.
Longitudinal cohort study.
Positive affect was significantly associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality in people with diabetes (N = 715). Enjoyed life was associated with lower risk of mortality over and above the effects of negative affect or other significant predictors of mortality. In a comparison sample without chronic illness (N = 2,673), positive affect was not associated with mortality. However, when the analysis was restricted to those over the age of 65, specific positive affects, in particular hopeful and enjoyed life were significantly associated with lower risk of mortality, again independent of negative affect. Enjoyed life remained significantly predictive of lower risk of mortality in the older sample when other predictors of mortality were statistically controlled. Positive affect was particularly protective among those over the age of 65 who reported higher levels of stress.
These findings are discussed in light of possible stress-buffering functions of positive affect.
"Recent theories have begun to place more importance on the role of positive emotions during stress independent of negative affect (Folkman, 2008). Moreover, positive, but not negative affect, has been linked to a decreased risk of mortality (Moskowitz et al., 2008; Davis, 2009). Thus, an ability to maintain greater positive mood during stress exposure among regular exercisers may serve a protective function, minimizing the accumulation of stress burden with repeated exposures that is linked with the development of disease. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Physical activity has long been considered beneficial to health and regular exercise is purported to relieve stress. However empirical evidence demonstrating these effects is limited. In this study, we compared psychophysiological responses to an acute psychosocial stressor between individuals who did, or did not, report regular physical exercise. Healthy men and women (N = 111) participated in two experimental sessions, one with the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) and one with a non-stressful control task. We measured heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol, and self-reported mood before and at repeated times after the tasks. Individuals who reported physical exercise at least once per week exhibited lower heart rate at rest than non-exercisers, but the groups did not differ in their cardiovascular responses to the TSST. Level of habitual exercise did not influence self-reported mood before the tasks, but non-exercisers reported a greater decline in positive affect after the TSST in comparison to exercisers. These findings provide modest support for claims that regular exercise protects against the negative emotional consequences of stress, and suggest that exercise has beneficial effects in healthy individuals. These findings are limited by their correlational nature, and future prospective controlled studies on the effects of regular exercise on response to acute stress are needed.
Frontiers in Physiology 05/2014; 5:161. DOI:10.3389/fphys.2014.00161 · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Occupational stress is associated with numerous health problems that cost organisations considerable resources. We explore whether the detrimental effects of stress on individual health are accompanied by productive effects on individual performance for self-employed people, thereby making stress somewhat “worth it” for this occupational group. Given that positive affect can serve as a stress-buffering resource, we also examine the potential for positive affect (PA) to moderate these relationships. Our hypotheses are tested using data from the NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study (NHEFS) that incorporated extensive demographic, medical history, nutritional, clinical, and laboratory data representative of the non-institutionalised civilian US population. From this dataset we created a longitudinal matched sample of 688 self-employed individuals and 688 employees, incorporating self-reported and physiological measures of stress and health. Our findings indicate that (controlling for past income and prior health) self-employed people experience greater stress than employees, and they experience a positive impact of stress on income despite a negative impact on physical health. These relationships are moderated by positive affectivity, where PA accentuates the positive effect of stress on personal income and mitigates the negative effect of stress on physical health.
"The identified broad spectrum of positive emotions relates to empirical work in the emerging field of positive psychology  which has linked positive emotions with resilience , human psycho-social flourishing  and longevity [99,100]. As benefits of positive emotions become better understood, interventions to produce them will likely become of interest; our findings suggest that visiting urban green space allows people voluntarily to increase their experiences of positive emotions and potentially identifies another important mechanism underlying the effects of green space on well-being. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With increasing interest in the use of urban green space to promote human health, there is a need to understand the extent to which park users conceptualize these places as a resource for health and well-being. This study sought to examine park users' own reasons for and benefits from green space usage and compare these with concepts and constructs in existing person-environment-health theories and models of health. Conducted in 13 public green spaces in Sheffield, UK, we undertook a qualitative content analysis of 312 park users' responses to open-ended interview questions and identified a breadth, depth and salience of visit motivators and derived effects. Findings highlight a discrepancy between reasons for visiting and derived effects from the use of urban green space. Motivations emphasized walking, green space qualities, and children. Derived effects highlighted relaxation, positive emotions within the self and towards the place, and spiritual well-being. We generate a taxonomy of motivations and derived effects that could facilitate operationalization within empirical research and articulate a conceptual framework linking motivators to outcomes for investigating green space as a resource for human health and well-being.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 01/2013; 10(1):417-42. DOI:10.3390/ijerph10010417 · 2.06 Impact Factor
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