Spontaneous self-affirmation is associated with psychological well-being: Evidence from a US national adult survey sample

J Health Psychol. 2018 Jan;23(1):95-102. doi: 10.1177/1359105316643595. Epub 2016 May 9.


Emerging evidence suggests that individuals spontaneously self-affirm, by reflecting on values and strengths, in response to daily threats. We examined the prevalence and demographic and well-being correlates of spontaneous self-affirmation in the general population. Participants ( n = 3185) completed the cross-sectional, nationally representative 2013 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 4, Cycle 3), and answered questions about spontaneous self-affirmation, demographic factors, well-being, and affect. The majority of the population reported spontaneously self-affirming. Black and Hispanic respondents reported engaging in more spontaneous self-affirmation. Engaging in spontaneous self-affirmation was related to greater happiness, hopefulness, optimism, subjective health, and personal health efficacy, and less anger and sadness.

Keywords: affect; physical health; self-affirmation; spontaneous self-affirmation; well-being.

MeSH terms

  • African Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Happiness*
  • Health Surveys*
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology
  • Hope
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Optimism
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Self Concept*
  • United States