Global life satisfaction has been linked with long-term health advantages, yet how life satisfaction impacts the trajectory of long-term health is unclear. This paper examines one such possible mechanism-that greater life satisfaction confers momentary benefits in daily life that accumulate over time. A community sample of working adults (n = 115) completed a measure of life satisfaction and then three subsequent days of ecological momentary assessment surveys (6 times/day) measuring affect (i.e., emotional valence, arousal), and perceived stress, and also provided salivary cortisol samples. Multilevel models indicated that people with higher (vs. lower) levels of life satisfaction reported better momentary affect, less stress, marginally lower momentary levels and significantly altered diurnal slopes of cortisol. Findings suggest individuals with high global life satisfaction have advantageous daily experiences, providing initial evidence for potential mechanisms through which global life satisfaction may help explain long-term health benefits.
Keywords: Affect; Cortisol; Ecological momentary assessment; Life satisfaction; Stress.