Tyler J. VanderWeele's research while affiliated with Beverly Hospital, Boston MA and other places

Publications (534)

Article
In meta‐analyses, it is critical to assess the extent to which publication bias might have compromised the results. Classical methods based on the funnel plot, including Egger's test and Trim‐and‐Fill, have become the de facto default methods to do so, with a large majority of recent meta‐analyses in top medical journals (85%) assessing for publica...
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Purpose Excellent character, reflected in adherence to high standards of moral behavior, has been argued to contribute to well-being. The study goes beyond this claim and provides insights into the role of strengths of moral character (SMC) for physical and mental health. Methods This study used longitudinal observational data merged with medic...
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While growing evidence documents strong associations between volunteering and improved health and well-being outcomes, less is known about the health and well-being factors that lead to increased volunteering. Using data from 13,771 participants in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS)-a diverse, longitudinal, and national sample of older adults in...
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Happiness is an increasingly prominent topic of interest across academia. However, relatively little attention has been paid to how it is created, especially not in a multidimensional sense. By ‘created’ we do not mean its influencing factors, for which there is extensive research, but how it actually forms in the person. The work that has been don...
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Importance: Despite growing evidence, the role of spirituality in serious illness and health has not been systematically assessed. Objective: To review evidence concerning spirituality in serious illness and health and to identify implications for patient care and health outcomes. Evidence review: Searches of PubMed, PsycINFO, and Web of Scien...
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A systems perspective explains dynamics of human flourishing based on the relations between its constituents. Using cross-sectional data from emerging adults (ages 18–29) in 10 countries (N = 7221), this study explored the interrelatedness among constituents of flourishing – happiness & satisfaction with life, mental & physical health, meaning & pu...
Preprint
Background: Research suggests a protective effect of religious service attendance on various health outcomes. However, most research has been done in religious societies, raising the question of whether these associations are also prominent in secular cultures. Here we examine mortality and hospitalisations by religious service attendance among men...
Article
Background: Little research has examined associations between disaster-related home loss and multiple domains of health and well-being, with extended long-term follow-up and comprehensive adjustment for pre-disaster characteristics of survivors. Objectives: We examined the longitudinal associations between disaster-induced home loss and 34 indic...
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Objectives: Evidence on social stimuli associated with mental health is based mostly on self-reported health measures. We aimed to examine prospective associations between social connectedness and clinical diagnosis of depression and of anxiety. Methods: Longitudinal observational data merged with health insurance data comprising medical informatio...
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The apolipoprotein E allele 4 (APOE-ε4) is established as a major genetic risk factor for cognitive decline and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Accumulating evidence has linked ε4 carriership to abnormal structural brain changes across the adult lifespan. To better understand the underlying causal mechanisms, we investigated the extent to which the...
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Background: Estimates of effect heterogeneity (i.e. the extent to which the causal effect of one exposure varies across strata of a second exposure) can be biased if the exposure-outcome relationship is subject to uncontrolled confounding whose severity differs across strata of the second exposure. Methods: We propose methods, analogous to the E...
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PurposeGrowing evidence documents strong associations between overall life satisfaction and favorable health and well-being outcomes. However, because most previous studies have assessed satisfaction with one’s life as a whole, we know little about whether specific domains of life satisfaction (e.g., satisfaction with family life, income) might be...
Article
Meta-analyses contribute critically to cumulative science, but they can produce misleading conclusions if their constituent primary studies are biased, for example by unmeasured confounding in nonrandomized studies. We provide practical guidance on how meta-analysts can address confounding and other biases that affect studies’ internal validity, fo...
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Kingdom (UK) government introduced public health safety measures to mitigate the spikes in infection rates. This included stay-at-home orders that prevented people from leaving their homes for work or study, except for urgent medical care or buying essential items. This practice could have both short and lon...
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Background: There is a growing cohort of head and neck cancer (HNC) patients affected by late- and long-term posttreatment side effects. Our study evaluates the relationship between the demographics, clinical characteristics, and posttreatment symptom burden with the subjective sense of flourishing among HNC survivors. Methods: A cross-sectional...
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What is the best way to estimate the size of important effects? Should we aggregate across disparate findings using statistical meta-analysis, or instead run large, multi-laboratory replications (MLR)? A recent paper by Kvarven, Strømland and Johannesson (Kvarven et al. 2020 Nat. Hum. Behav. 4, 423-434. (doi:10.1038/s41562-019-0787-z)) compared eff...
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Background In-person religious service attendance has been linked to favorable health and well-being outcomes. However, little research has examined whether online religious participation improves these outcomes, especially when in-person attendance is suspended. Methods Using longitudinal data of 8951 UK adults, this study prospectively examined...
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The longitudinal interrelationships between domains of human well-being or flourishing remain understudied empirically. While different aspects of flourishing may be sought as their own end, it is also the case that well-being in one domain may influence well-being in other domains. Using longitudinal data form a sample of employees from a large na...
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Introduction Human flourishing is a multidimensional concept characterized by a state of complete wellbeing. However, much of the prior research on wellbeing has principally focused on population averages assessed using a single item of wellbeing. This study examined trends in population averages and inequalities for a multidimensional index of wel...
Article
Importance: Researchers and policy makers are expanding the focus from risk factors of disease to seek potentially modifiable health factors that enhance people's health and well-being. Understanding if and to what degree aging satisfaction (one's beliefs about their own aging) is associated with a range of health and well-being outcomes aligns wi...
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Background: Having a purpose in life has been linked to improved health and wellbeing; however, it remains unknown whether having "Ikigai"-a related but broader concept in Japan-is also beneficial for various physical and psychosocial outcomes. Methods: Using data from a nationwide longitudinal study of Japanese older adults aged ≥65 years, we e...
Article
In a recent concept paper (Verbeek et al., 2021), the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) Working Group provides a preliminary proposal to improve its existing guidelines for assessing sensitivity to uncontrolled confounding in meta-analyses of nonrandomized studies. The new proposal centers on reporting the E...
Article
The Global Flourishing Study (GFS) will involve data collection for some 240,000 participants, from twenty-two geographically and culturally diverse countries, with annual data collection on the same individuals for five years. The survey includes questions on well-being, along with demographic, social, economic, political, religious, personality,...
Article
COVID-19 has infected millions of people and upended the lives of most humans on the planet. Researchers from across the psychological sciences have sought to document and investigate the impact of COVID-19 in myriad ways, causing an explosion of research that is broad in scope, varied in methods, and challenging to consolidate. Because policy and...
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Full-text available
Growing evidence documents strong associations between overall life satisfaction and favorable health and well-being outcomes. However, because most previous studies have assessed satisfaction with one’s life as a whole, we know little about whether specific domains of life satisfaction (e.g., satisfaction with income) might be driving better healt...
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Objective: To describe the bias assessment practice in recently published systematic reviews of mediation studies and to evaluate the quality of different bias assessment tools for mediation analysis proposed in the literature. Method: We conducted an overview of systematic reviews by searching MEDLINE (OvidSP), PsycINFO (OvidSP), Cochrane Datab...
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The COVID-19 pandemic and its sequelae have had significant consequences for many people around the world, precipitating loss of resources in various domains. To date, few studies have reported on how resource loss during the public health crisis has contributed to subjective experiences of suffering, especially among vulnerable populations. Using...
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While past empirical studies have explored associations between types of primary and secondary schools and student academic achievement, outcomes beyond academic performance remain less well-understood. Using longitudinal data from a cohort of children (N = 12,288, mean age = 14.56 years) of nurses, this study examined associations between the type...
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The association between religion, spirituality, and body weight is controversial, given the methodological limitations of existing studies. Using the Nurses’ Health Study II cohort, follow-up occurred from 2001 to 2015, with up to 35,547 participants assessed for the religious or spiritual coping and religious service attendance analyses. Cox regre...
Article
Importance Mendelian randomization (MR) studies use genetic variation associated with modifiable exposures to assess their possible causal relationship with outcomes and aim to reduce potential bias from confounding and reverse causation. Objective To develop the STROBE-MR Statement as a stand-alone extension to the STROBE (Strengthening the Repor...
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Mendelian randomisation (MR) studies allow a better understanding of the causal effects of modifiable exposures on health outcomes, but the published evidence is often hampered by inadequate reporting. Reporting guidelines help authors effectively communicate all critical information about what was done and what was found. STROBE-MR (strengthening...
Preprint
In a recent concept paper (Verbeek et al., 2021), the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) Working Group provides a preliminary proposal to improve its existing guidelines for assessing sensitivity to uncontrolled confounding in meta-analyses of nonrandomized studies. The new proposal centers on reporting the E...
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Full-text available
Psychosocial constructs can only be assessed indirectly, and measures are typically formed by a combination of indicators that are thought to relate to the construct. Reflective and formative measurement models offer different conceptualizations of the relation between the indicators and what is sometimes conceived of as a univariate latent variabl...
Article
In light of the analyses of Scheier et al. (2021) concerning differential associations of optimism and pessimism measures with physical health, we argue here that whether optimism and pessimism are bipolar, lying on separate ends of a spectrum, or whether they represent two separate dimensions is a conceptual, rather than an empirical, question. Di...
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Importance Mediation analyses of randomized trials and observational studies can generate evidence about the mechanisms by which interventions and exposures may influence health outcomes. Publications of mediation analyses are increasing, but the quality of their reporting is suboptimal. Objective To develop international, consensus-based guidance...
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Purpose To investigate religion and spirituality (R/S) as psychosocial factors in type 2 diabetes risk. Methods Using the Nurses’ Health Study II, we conducted a 14-year prospective analysis of 46,713 women with self-reported use of religion or spiritual beliefs to cope with stressful situations, and 42,825 women with self-reported religious servi...
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Background: Escalating healthcare expenditures highlight the need to identify modifiable predictors of the use and costs of healthcare and sickness benefit transfers. We conducted a prospective analysis on Danish data to determine the costs associated with flourishing as compared to the below threshold level of flourishing. Methods: We used data f...
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Happiness is an increasingly prominent topic of interest across numerous academic fields. However, the literature can sometimes imply it is predominantly a modern concern. Relatedly, critics have argued that contemporary scholarship on happiness is Western-centric, yet in so doing can appear to suggest that happiness is mainly a Western preoccupati...
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Religious coping has emerged as a guiding paradigm for understanding ways in which religion shapes how people adapt to life’s most difficult experiences. Although research on religious coping has advanced substantially over the last two decades, there has been a disproportionate focus on non-interpersonal stressors with samples from predominantly w...
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Purpose Growing evidence indicates that a higher sense of purpose in life ( purpose) is associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases and mortality. However, epidemiological studies have not evaluated if change in purpose is associated with subsequent health and well-being outcomes. Design We evaluated if positive change in purpose (between t 0...
Preprint
Meta-analyses contribute critically to cumulative science, but they can produce misleading conclusions if their constituent primary studies are biased, for example by unmeasured confounding in nonrandomized studies. We provide practical guidance on how meta-analysts can address confounding and other biases that affect studies' internal validity, fo...
Article
In this issue of JAMA Psychiatry, Hjorthøj et al¹ use Danish national registry data from 1972 through 2016 to examine longitudinal associations between cannabis use disorder and schizophrenia after controlling for potential confounders. They carried out numerous sensitivity analyses² and further report attributable fractions for schizophrenia attri...
Article
Meta-regression analyses usually focus on estimating and testing differences in average effect sizes between individual levels of each meta-regression covariate in turn. These metrics are useful but have limitations: they consider each covariate individually, rather than in combination, and they characterize only the mean of a potentially heterogen...
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Suffering has been a topic of considerable discussion in the fields of medicine and palliative care, yet few studies have reported causal evidence linking the experience of suffering to health and well-being. In this three-wave prospective cohort study, we explore the potential psychological implications of suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic by...
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The article discusses the importance of quantitative empirical character assessment for better understanding the formation of character and for promoting virtue and thereby also human flourishing. Attention is given to a number of challenges in developing character survey items along with criteria for evaluating items and examples of successes and...
Article
Confounding, selection bias, and measurement error are well-known sources of bias in epidemiologic research. Methods for assessing these biases have their own limitations. Many quantitative sensitivity analysis approaches consider each type of bias individually, although more complex approaches are harder to implement or require numerous assumption...
Article
Objective: This prospective longitudinal study examined whether coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has led to changes in psychological and spiritual outcomes among adults with chronic disease. Method: Participants (N = 302) were a stratified, nonrandom sample of adults (Mage = 64.46, SD = 10.86, 45.7% female). The sample was representative of t...
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Background Both theory and empirical evidence suggest that financial conditions are influential for mental health and might contribute to physical health outcomes. Methods Using longitudinal survey data and health claims data from 1,209 employees in a large U.S. health insurance company, we examined temporal associations between measures of finan...
Chapter
The chapters in this volume affirm the value not only of specialized, discipline-specific research on the nature of well-being—its antecedents, and its consequences—but also of synthesizing interdisciplinary scholarship into a coherent body of research findings, theoretical explanations, and policy recommendations regarding well-being. Each of the...
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Measures of well-being have proliferated over the past decades. Very little guidance has been available about which measures to use in particular contexts. This chapter provides a series of recommendations, based on the present state of knowledge and the existing measures available, of which measures might be preferred in which contexts. The recomm...
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We review the evidence concerning associations between religious service attendance and subsequent health and well-being outcomes. The evidence-base for a link between religious service attendance and health has increased substantially over the past two decades. The interpretation and implications of this research require careful consideration. It...
Article
Accumulating research indicates robust associations between sense of control and salutary health and well-being outcomes. However, whether change in sense of control is associated with subsequent outcomes has been under-evaluated. Participants (N = 12,998) were from the Health and Retirement Study—a diverse, nationally representative, and longitudi...
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Introduction Having a higher purpose in life has been linked to favorable health outcomes. However, little research has examined whether the purpose–health association persists across different levels of SES. This study assesses whether the association between higher purpose in life and lower mortality is similar across the levels of SES. Methods...
Preprint
We provide sensitivity analyses for unmeasured confounding in estimates of effect heterogeneity and causal interaction.
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In this article, we develop a measure of complete well-being. The framework is derived from the theoretical model of human flourishing understood as a state in which all aspects of a human life are favorable. The approach extends beyond psychological well-being and reflects the World Health Organization definition of health that not only considers...
Preprint
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In this paper, we consider the extent of the biases that may arise when an unmeasured confounder is omitted from a structural equation model (SEM) and we propose sensitivity analysis techniques to correct for such biases. We give an analysis of which effects in an SEM are, and are not, biased by an unmeasured confounder. It is shown that a single u...
Preprint
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The paper considers mediation analysis with longitudinal data under latent growth curve models within a counterfactual framework. Estimators and their standard errors are derived for natural direct and indirect effects when the mediator, the outcome, and possibly also the exposure can be modeled by an underlying latent variable giving rise to a gro...
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Social scientists have increasingly recognized the lack of diversity in survey research on American religion, resulting in a dearth of data on religion and spirituality (R/S) in understudied racial and ethnic groups. At the same time, epidemiological studies have increasingly diversified their racial and ethnic representation, but have collected fe...
Preprint
COVID-19 has infected millions of people and upended the lives of most humans on the planet. Researchers from across the psychological sciences have sought to document and investigate the impact of COVID-19 in myriad ways, causing an explosion of research that is broad in scope, varied in methods, and challenging to consolidate. Because policy and...
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Full-text available
Policy Points Several intergovernmental organizations (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Health Organization, United Nations) are urging countries to use well-being indicators (e.g., life satisfaction) in addition to traditional economic indicators when making important policy decisions. As the number of governments impl...
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Increasing evidence suggests that psychological well-being (PWB) is associated with lower chronic disease and mortality risk and may be enhanced with relatively low-cost interventions. While many interventions are targeted at specific dimensions of PWB (e.g., optimism, purpose in life), limited research has evaluated rigorously whether distinct PWB...
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Direct effects in mediation analysis quantify the effect of an exposure on an outcome not mediated by a certain intermediate. When estimating direct effects through measured data, misclassification may occur in the outcomes, exposures, and mediators. In mediation analysis, any such misclassification may lead to biased estimates in the direct effect...
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Potential antecedents to having a sense of purpose in life remain understudied. As researchers begin contemplating purpose as a promising target of public health intervention, it is critical to identify its antecedents. Using prospective data from the Nurses' Health Study II (2009-2016; N ranged from 3,905 to 4,189), this study evaluated a wide ran...
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Purpose: We examined the impact of an orientation to promote good—one aspect of strengths of character, understood as having consistent thoughts and taking actions that contribute to the good of oneself and others—on flourishing outcomes. Design: We used data from 2 longitudinal observational studies. The primary study used 2 waves of data collect...
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In light of the present pandemic, many religious communities have been asked to suspend their services and meetings. From the perspective of these communities, this comes at considerable cost to the spiritual good that these religious services bring about. Empirical evidence also indicates that the suspension of these services will have costs conce...
Article
Selective publication and reporting in individual papers compromise the scientific record, but are meta‐analyses as compromised as their constituent studies? We systematically sampled 63 meta‐analyses each comprising least 40 studies in PLOS One, top medical journals, top psychology journals, and Metalab, an online, open‐data database of developmen...
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Background: Forgiveness is a concept of growing interest within psychology and of potential relevance to public health. While there has been increasing evidence suggesting positive associations between forgiveness of others and a range of psychosocial well-being and mental health outcomes, its associations with health behaviors and physical health...