Positive emotion and health: going beyond the negative

Health Psychol. 2005 Jul;24(4):422-9. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.24.4.422.


This study examined the relationships between positive emotions and health. Two positive emotions were considered, hope and curiosity, in conjunction with 3 physician-diagnosed disease outcomes: hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and respiratory tract infections. Medical data were abstracted over a 2-year period from 1,041 patient records from a multispecialty medical practice, and emotions were assessed through a mailed questionnaire. Across 3 disease outcomes, higher levels of hope were associated with a decreased likelihood of having or developing a disease. Higher levels of curiosity were also associated with decreased likelihood of hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Results suggest that positive emotion may play a protective role in the development of disease.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Negativism
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology