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Designing Positive PsychologyTaking Stock and Moving Forward$
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Kennon M. Sheldon, Todd B. Kashdan, and Michael F. Steger

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195373585

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195373585.001.0001

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Positive Psychological States and Biological Processes

Positive Psychological States and Biological Processes

(p.41) 4 Positive Psychological States and Biological Processes
Designing Positive Psychology

Carissa A. Low

Julienne E. Bower

Judith T. Moskowitz

Elissa S. Epel

Oxford University Press

Mounting scientific evidence indicates that positive psychological states are reflected in biological processes, objective physical health, and mortality. This chapter examines the mechanisms through which positive psychological states influence physical health outcomes, focusing on biological processes. To that end, it first reviews the literature on the effect of positive psychological states on neuroendocrine and immune system function with a focus on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) and inflammatory processes. Second, it describes a conceptual model of “enhanced allostasis” as a mechanism linking positive psychological states with physical health. Finally, it identifies questions that remain unanswered and outlines testable hypotheses guided by both existing literature and the enhanced allostasis model.

Keywords:   physiology, physical health, neuroendocrine system, immune system, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal processes, inflammatory processes, enhanced allostasis model

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