The objective of this project is to reanalyze existing longitudinal datasets to show that aspects of "positive" psychological functioning predict health above-and-beyond or possibly through the effects of conventional risk factors for disease. The project is currently expanding its focus beyond cardiovascular disease endpoints or markers of deteriorative biology to look at favorable cardiovascular health as an endpoint as well as restorative biological and behavioral processes.
Numerous datasets have been or are currently being utilized for these analyses. These datasets include the Health and Retirement Study, the Normative Aging Study, the Whitehall II Study, the study of Midlife in the United States, and the Nurses' Health Study. In addition, we were recently granted permission to use data from the study of Coronary Artery Risk and Development in Young Adults to investigate psychological well-being's associations with favorable cardiovascular health and restorative processes. Similar analyses will also be conducted in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.
Notably, one of our papers published in the spring of 2012 ("The heart's content: The association between positive psychological well-being and cardiovascular health," Psychological Bulletin) garnered attention from countless media outlets with circulation to more than 13 million individuals. In addition, a podcast for a recently published manuscript ("Association between optimism and serum antioxidants in the Midlife in the United States study," Psychosomatic Medicine) was created to share with a larger audience. To listen to it, please visit:http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/site/misc/Podcasts.xhtml