Does positive affect influence health?

Psychol Bull. 2005 Nov;131(6):925-971. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.131.6.925.


This review highlights consistent patterns in the literature associating positive affect (PA) and physical health. However, it also raises serious conceptual and methodological reservations. Evidence suggests an association of trait PA and lower morbidity and of state and trait PA and decreased symptoms and pain. Trait PA is also associated with increased longevity among older community-dwelling individuals. The literature on PA and surviving serious illness is inconsistent. Experimentally inducing intense bouts of activated state PA triggers short-term rises in physiological arousal and associated (potentially harmful) effects on immune, cardiovascular, and pulmonary function. However, arousing effects of state PA are not generally found in naturalistic ambulatory studies in which bouts of PA are typically less intense and often associated with health protective responses. A theoretical framework to guide further study is proposed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Child
  • Disease / psychology
  • Female
  • Happiness*
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality
  • Negativism
  • Survival Analysis