Upward spirals of positive emotion and coping: Replication, extension, and initial exploration of neurochemical substrates

Pers Individ Dif. 2008 Jan;44(2):360-370. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2007.08.015.


The broaden-and-build theory (Fredrickson, 1998, 2001) predicts that positive emotions broaden the scopes of attention and cognition, thereby facilitating the building of personal resources and initiating upward spirals toward increasing emotional well-being. This study attempts to replicate and extend previous empirical support for this model. Using a sample of 185 undergraduates, we assessed whether positive affect and broad-minded coping, interpersonal trust, and social support reciprocally and prospectively predict one another over a two-month period, and whether this upward spiral might be partially based in changes in dopaminergic functioning. As hypothesized, PA and positive coping did mutually build on one another, as did PA and interpersonal trust. Contrary to expectation, PA did not demonstrate an upward spiral relation with social support. Results suggest further study of the relationship between PA and changes in dopamine metabolite levels over time is warranted.