A Pathway to Better Physical Health
Medical research has long focused almost exclusively on the detrimental impact of negative affect (e.g., hostility, stress, depression), ignoring the possibility that positive affect might play a unique role in benefiting health. Recently, with the growing excitement in positive psychology, there has been a burgeoning interest in whether and in how positive factors might connect to better objective health outcomes. This chapter will provide an overview of the evidence tying positive affect to better health, including studies of longevity, disease morbidity, severity and survival, as well as self-reported symptoms and pain. It will also provide a brief overview of the pathways that might allow these connections to occur. Finally, it will examine the possibility that interventions, targeting positive affect enhancement, may result in increased health benefits.
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