Publications by authors named "Anthony D Ong"

55 Publications

More than hurt feelings: The wear and tear of day-to-day discrimination in adults with chronic pain.

Pain Med 2021 Apr 8. Epub 2021 Apr 8.

Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, NY, USA.

Objective: To examine the extent to which self-reported experiences of discrimination are associated with pain interference among men and women with chronic non-cancer pain.

Methods: Data are from the Study of Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) Refresher Cohort. The analytic sample consisted of 207 adults with chronic pain (54.2 ± 12.8 years; 53.6% female) who completed the Major Experiences of Discrimination and Everyday Discrimination scales. Regression analyses examined cross-sectional relations between discrimination and pain interference.

Results: On average, the level of pain interference was moderate in the sample (M = 3.46, SD = 2.66; observed range 0 - 10). Approximately a third of respondents reported at least one major discriminatory event in their lifetime, while 22% reported 3 or more discriminatory lifetime events. Everyday discrimination scores averaged 14.19 ± 5.46 (observed range 0 - 33). Adjusting for sociodemographics, physical health, cognitive and psychological factors, social isolation, and loneliness, everyday discrimination was associated with increased pain interference (B = .099; 95% confidence interval [CI], .02 to .17).

Conclusion: These findings add weight to the importance of day-to-day experiences of interpersonal discrimination by documenting independent associations with functional interference in adults with chronic pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pm/pnab135DOI Listing
April 2021

Linking Amygdala Persistence to Real-World Emotional Experience and Psychological Well-Being.

J Neurosci 2021 Apr 22;41(16):3721-3730. Epub 2021 Mar 22.

Department of Psychology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida 33124

Neural dynamics in response to affective stimuli are linked to momentary emotional experiences. The amygdala, in particular, is involved in subjective emotional experience and assigning value to neutral stimuli. Because amygdala activity persistence following aversive events varies across individuals, some may evaluate subsequent neutral stimuli more negatively than others. This may lead to more frequent and long-lasting momentary emotional experiences, which may also be linked to self-evaluative measures of psychological well-being (PWB). Despite extant links between daily affect and PWB, few studies have directly explored the links between amygdala persistence, daily affective experience, and PWB. To that end, we examined data from 52 human adults (67% female) in the Midlife in the United States study who completed measures of PWB, daily affect, and functional MRI (fMRI). During fMRI, participants viewed affective images followed by a neutral facial expression, permitting quantification of individual differences in the similarity of amygdala representations of affective stimuli and neutral facial expressions that follow. Using representational similarity analysis, neural persistence following aversive stimuli was operationalized as similarity between the amygdala activation patterns while encoding negative images and the neutral facial expressions shown afterward. Individuals demonstrating less persistent activation patterns in the left amygdala to aversive stimuli reported more positive and less negative affect in daily life. Further, daily positive affect served as an indirect link between left amygdala persistence and PWB. These results clarify important connections between individual differences in brain function, daily experiences of affect, and well-being. At the intersection of affective neuroscience and psychology, researchers have aimed to understand how individual differences in the neural processing of affective events map onto to real-world emotional experiences and evaluations of well-being. Using a longitudinal dataset from 52 adults in the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study, we provide an integrative model of affective functioning: less amygdala persistence following negative images predicts greater positive affect (PA) in daily life, which in turn predicts greater psychological well-being (PWB) seven years later. Thus, day-to-day experiences of PA comprise a promising intermediate step that links individual differences in neural dynamics to complex judgements of PWB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1637-20.2021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8055079PMC
April 2021

Discrimination and systemic inflammation: A critical review and synthesis.

Brain Behav Immun 2020 10 17;89:465-479. Epub 2020 Jul 17.

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, United States; Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University, United States.

Exposure to discrimination or unfair treatment has emerged as an important risk factor for illness and disease that disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities. Discriminatory experiences may operate like other stressors in that they activate physiological responses that adversely affect the maintenance of homeostasis. Research suggests that inflammation plays a critical role in the pathophysiology of stress-related diseases. Recent findings on discrimination and inflammation are discussed. We highlight limitations in the current evidence and provide recommendations for future studies that seek to examine the association between discrimination and inflammation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2020.07.017DOI Listing
October 2020

Association of Positive Affect Instability With All-Cause Mortality in Older Adults in England.

JAMA Netw Open 2020 07 1;3(7):e207725. Epub 2020 Jul 1.

Department of Behavioural Science and Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom.

Importance: There is increasing recognition that positive affective states have a protective association for all-cause mortality. However, positive states of happiness and excitement vary over time, and little is known about the association of fluctuations in positive affect with survival.

Objective: To investigate the association of positive affect instability, conceptualized as fluctuations in momentary positive affect, with mortality in a population-based sample of older adults in England.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This survey study used data from a longitudinal survey collected in wave 2 (2004) of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, a nationally representative sample of older men and women living in England, with follow-up continuing until March 2018. Participants included people aged 50 years or older at recruitment. Data were analyzed from September 2019 to April 2020.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The main outcome was all-cause mortality. Positive and negative affect were measured at 4 time points over the course of 1 day: soon after waking, 30 minutes after waking, at 7:00 pm, and at bedtime.

Results: Data were analyzed from 3834 participants (mean [SD] age at baseline, 64.0 [7.4] years; 2082 [54.3%] women) with a mean (SD) follow-up of 12.25 (2.60) years. Adjusting for demographic characteristics, baseline illness, health behaviors, and mean level and instability in negative affect, Cox proportional hazards regression showed that high positive affect instability was associated with greater mortality, with a hazard ratio of 1.25 (95% CI, 1.04-1.49; P = .02). Associations did not differ by age, suggesting that the increased mortality risk associated with high positive affect instability was not restricted to older ages.

Conclusion And Relevance: These findings suggest that temporal fluctuations in positive affect were associated with mortality risk in older adults. These findings illustrate the value of incorporating dynamic assessments of positive affect in distal health outcomes such as mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.7725DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7344379PMC
July 2020

Being Happy and Becoming Happier as Independent Predictors of Physical Health and Mortality.

Psychosom Med 2020 09;82(7):650-657

From the Department of Medical Social Sciences (Willroth, Graham, Mroczek), Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois; Department of Human Development (Ong), Cornell University, Ithaca; Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine (Ong), Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City, New York; and Department of Psychology (Mroczek), Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.

Objective: The present study tested preregistered predictions regarding the prospective associations between level and change in subjective well-being (SWB) and physical health.

Methods: In two large longitudinal panel studies conducted in the United States (N = 3294) and Japan (N = 657), we used multilevel growth curve models to estimate level and change in components of SWB (i.e., life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect). Next, we used random intercepts and slopes to predict subsequent self-reported general health and number of chronic health conditions (in the United States and Japan) and mortality risk (in the United States).

Results: Greater life satisfaction, higher positive affect, and lower negative affect were associated with better health (0.22 < |β values| < 0.46) and longer survival. Above and beyond SWB level, longitudinal increases in life satisfaction and positive affect and longitudinal decreases in negative affect were associated with better health (0.06 < |β values| < 0.20). Moreover, all three SWB components independently predicted health, and life satisfaction and negative affect independently predicted survival. The preregistration and analysis scripts are available at osf.io/mz9gy.

Conclusions: The present findings suggest that being happy and becoming happier across time are independently associated with better physical health in the United States and Japan.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000832DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7484325PMC
September 2020

Day-to-day fluctuations in experiences of discrimination: Associations with sleep and the moderating role of internalized racism among African American college students.

Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol 2021 Jan 20;27(1):107-117. Epub 2020 Apr 20.

Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Auburn University.

Objectives: Studies of discrimination and sleep have largely focused on between-person differences in discrimination as a correlate of sleep outcomes. A common criticism of this research is that standard questionnaire measures of discrimination may be confounded by personality and identity and are subject to recall bias. Partially addressing these limitations, the current study examined within-person, day-to-day fluctuations in perceived discrimination as a predictor of day-to-day fluctuations in sleep. The role of internalized racism as a moderator of the within-person association between discrimination and sleep was also considered.

Method: Participants were African American college students attending a predominantly White institution ( = 124, 26% male, = 20.1, = 1.6). Each student was asked to complete a baseline questionnaire and a 9-day diary. Experiences of discrimination were assessed in the questionnaire and daily diary format. Sleep problems were measured each day using self-report measures focusing on sleep quality. Internalized racism was assessed with the miseducation scale, which captures the degree to which individuals associate negative characteristics such as laziness and criminality with their racial/ethnic group. Established measures of racial identity were considered as covariates.

Results: Multilevel analyses indicated that on days when participants experienced more discrimination, subsequent sleep problems increased ( = .037, = .017, = .034). Furthermore, this within-person association was moderated by internalized racism such that the effects of daily discrimination on sleep were stronger among those who scored higher on miseducation ( = .046, = .021, = .033).

Conclusions: Overall, results suggest that ongoing efforts to reduce discrimination, support the adjustment of racial/ethnic minority students, and address internalized racism are warranted. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000342DOI Listing
January 2021

Positive affect and chronic pain: a preregistered systematic review and meta-analysis.

Pain 2020 06;161(6):1140-1149

Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City, NY, United States.

Chronic noncancer pain (CNCP) is a significant health burden among adults. Standard behavioral therapies typically focus on targeting negative affect (NA) and yield only modest treatment effects. The aims of this study were to systematically review and investigate the association between positive affect (PA) and pain severity among adults with CNCP. Databases that were searched included MEDLINE (PubMed), PsycINFO, CINAHL, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, OLASTER, Open Grey, and PsyArXiv (inception to July 23, 2019). We analyzed studies that: (1) used observational, experimental, or intervention study designs; (2) enrolled individuals with CNCP (pain ≥ 12 weeks); and (3) reported full quantitative results on outcomes. Two researchers independently screened articles, extracted data, and assessed the risk of bias. The main meta-analysis was followed by subgroup analyses. All analyses were performed using random-effects models. Formal tests for heterogeneity (Q-statistic; I) and publication bias (p-curve and p-uniform*) were performed. We meta-analyzed 29 studies with 3521 participants. Results demonstrated that PA inversely impacts pain severity in people with CNCP (r = -0.23). Subgroup analyses showed a significant effect for gender and marginally significant effects for age in studies that adjusted for NA. On average, effect sizes for observational studies were larger in studies with a higher proportion of female respondents and in studies that did not adjust for NA. Finally, larger effect sizes were found in intervention studies with older compared with younger samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001828DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230030PMC
June 2020

Affective reactivity, resting heart rate variability, and marital quality: A 10-year longitudinal study of U.S. adults.

J Fam Psychol 2020 Apr 29;34(3):375-382. Epub 2019 Aug 29.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Increasing evidence suggests that heightened affective reactivity to daily stressors has implications for mental and physical health, yet little is known about the long-term repercussions of day-to-day stress reactivity for marital quality. This study examined associations between affective reactivity and two indicators of marital well-being (marital satisfaction and marital risk) over a 10-year period. An additional aim was to investigate the potential role of resting high-frequency heart rate variability (HF-HRV), an index of cardiac vagal regulation, in moderating the association between affective reactivity and marital quality. These relationships were examined using data from 344 married adults in the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS II and III) study. Respondents completed daily telephone interviews and longitudinal reports of stressors, affect, and marital quality. HF-HRV was measured at rest. Greater affective reactivity to daily stressors predicted lower marital satisfaction and higher marital risk 10 years later. These associations remained after adjustments for potential confounders, including demographics, physical and behavioral factors, and psychological characteristics. In addition, HF-HRV moderated the associations between affective reactivity and marital quality. Results are consistent with a buffering effect, in which high levels of HF-HRV offset the inverse association between affective reactivity and marital quality. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000591DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7048653PMC
April 2020

Lifetime discrimination, global sleep quality, and inflammation burden in a multiethnic sample of middle-aged adults.

Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol 2019 Jan;25(1):82-90

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard University.

Objective: Despite considerable evidence that greater exposure to discrimination over the life course increases risk for systemic inflammation, little is known about the mechanisms responsible for this association. Here we examine the role of global sleep quality as a potential pathway by which self-reported experiences of discrimination contribute to inflammatory dysfunction in a multiethnic sample of middle-aged adults.

Method: Participants were 300 adults (36-85 years; 65% women) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a subset of the Midlife in the United States Study 2 (2004-2006). Racial/ethnic representation included African American (77.7%), Hispanic (12.7%), Asian/Pacific Islander (5.6%), and Native American (4.0%). Global sleep quality and perceptions of lifetime and daily discrimination were measured by questionnaire. A composite score of inflammation burden was computed as the sum of five markers including C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), fibrinogen, E-selectin, and intracellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1).

Results: Greater lifetime exposure to discrimination was associated with higher inflammation burden. This relationship remained significant after adjustments for potential confounding factors, including demographics, medication use, health behaviors, psychological distress, and daily discrimination. Mediation analyses suggested that poor global sleep quality was a key mechanism underlying the link between lifetime discrimination and inflammation burden.

Conclusion: These results add to a growing literature on the effects of bias and unfair treatment experienced by people of color and other marginalized groups by demonstrating how such experiences may be particularly consequential for sleep and physiological functioning in midlife. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000233DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6369702PMC
January 2019

Affective reactivity to daily racial discrimination as a prospective predictor of depressive symptoms in African American graduate and postgraduate students.

Dev Psychopathol 2018 12 12;30(5):1649-1659. Epub 2018 Sep 12.

Cornell University.

This study examined whether individual differences in affective reactivity, defined as changes in positive or negative affect in response to daily racial discrimination, predicted subsequent depressive symptoms. Participants were African American graduate and postgraduate students (N = 174; M age = 30 years) recruited for a measurement-burst study. Data on depressive symptoms were gathered at two assessment points 1 year apart. Affective reactivity data was obtained from participants via a 14-day diary study of daily racial discrimination and affect. Participants who experienced pronounced increases in negative affect on days when racial discrimination occurred had elevated depressive symptoms 1 year later. Heightened positive affect reactivity was also associated with more depressive symptoms at follow-up. The results suggest that affective reactivity (either greater increases in negative affect or greater decreases in positive affect in the context of racial discrimination) may be an underlying psychological mechanism that confers vulnerability to future depressive symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954579418000950DOI Listing
December 2018

Perceived Partner Responsiveness, Daily Negative Affect Reactivity, and All-Cause Mortality: A 20-Year Longitudinal Study.

Psychosom Med 2019 01;81(1):7-15

From the Department of Psychology (Stanton), University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom; Department of Psychology (Selcuk), Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey; Department of Psychology (Farrell, Slatcher) and Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics (Farrell), Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan; Department of Human Development (Ong), Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; and Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine (Ong), Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York.

Objective: This study tested longitudinal associations between absolute levels of perceived partner responsiveness (PPR; how much people perceive that their romantic partners understand, care for, and appreciate them), daily negative affect reactivity and positive affect reactivity, and all-cause mortality in a sample of 1,208 adults for three waves of data collection spanning 20 years. We also tested whether longitudinal changes in PPR predicted mortality via affect reactivity.

Methods: Data were taken from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States. PPR was assessed at waves 1 and 2, affect reactivity to stressors was assessed by daily diary reports at wave 2, and mortality status was obtained at wave 3.

Results: Mediation analyses revealed absolute levels of PPR at wave 1 predicted wave 3 mortality via wave 2 affective reactivity in the predicted direction, but this did not remain robust when statistically accounting for covariates (e.g., marital risk, neuroticism), β = .004, 95% confidence interval = -.03 to .04. However, wave 1-2 PPR change predicted negative affect (but not positive affect) reactivity to daily stressors at wave 2, which then predicted mortality risk a decade later (wave 3); these results held when adjusting for relevant demographic, health, and psychosocial covariates, β = -.04, 95% confidence interval = -.09 to -.002.

Conclusions: These findings are among the first to provide direct evidence of psychological mechanisms underlying the links between intimate relationships and mortality and have implications for research aiming to develop interventions that increase or maintain responsiveness in relationships over time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000618DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6298854PMC
January 2019

Patterns of perceived partner responsiveness and well-being in Japan and the United States.

J Fam Psychol 2018 04;32(3):355-365

Department of Human Development and Weill Medical College, Cornell University.

Quality of marital relationships is consistently linked to personal well-being. However, almost all of the studies linking marital processes to well-being have been conducted in Western (particularly North American) countries. Growing evidence shows that perceived partner responsiveness is a central relationship process predicting well-being in Western contexts but little is known about whether this association generalizes to other countries. The present work investigated whether the predictive role of perceived partner responsiveness in well-being differs across the United States and Japan-2 contexts with contrasting views on how the self is conceptualized in relation to the social group. A large life span sample of married or long-term cohabiting adults (n = 3,079, age range = 33-83 in the United States and n = 861, age range = 30-79 in Japan) completed measures of perceived partner responsiveness, hedonic and eudaimonic well-being, and demographic (age, gender, education) and personality (extraversion and neuroticism) covariates known to predict well-being. Perceived partner responsiveness positively predicted hedonic and eudaimonic well-being both in the U.S. and in Japan. However, perceived partner responsiveness more strongly predicted both types of well-being in the United States as compared with Japan. The difference in slopes across the 2 countries was greater for eudaimonic as compared with hedonic well-being. The interaction between perceived partner responsiveness and country held even after controlling for demographic factors and personality traits. By showing that the role of perceived partner responsiveness in well-being may be influenced by cultural context, our findings contribute to achieving a more nuanced picture of the role of relationships in personal well-being. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000378DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5922804PMC
April 2018

Discrimination and anger control as pathways linking socioeconomic disadvantage to allostatic load in midlife.

J Psychosom Res 2017 12 16;103:83-90. Epub 2017 Oct 16.

Department of Psychology, Chapman University, United States. Electronic address:

Objective: Recent evidence suggests that experiences of discrimination contribute to socioeconomic status health disparities. The current study examined if the experience and regulation of anger-an expected emotional response to discrimination-serves as an explanatory factor for the previously documented links between socioeconomic disadvantage (SED), discrimination, and allostatic load.

Methods: Data were drawn from the second wave of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study and included 909 adults who participated in the biomarkers subproject.

Results: Results revealed that perceived discrimination was associated with higher levels of allostatic load. Furthermore, we found evidence that perceived discrimination and anger control sequentially explained the relationship between SED and allostatic load, such that greater discrimination was associated with lower levels of anger control, which, in turn accounted for the effects of discrimination on allostatic load. These results remained significant after controlling for negative affect, positive affect, other forms of anger expression, as well as demographic covariates.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that low anger control may be an important psychological pathway through which experiences of discrimination influence health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2017.10.002DOI Listing
December 2017

Inter- and Intra-Individual Variation in Emotional Complexity: Methodological Considerations and Theoretical Implications.

Curr Opin Behav Sci 2017 Jun 27;15:22-26. Epub 2017 May 27.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The degree of relationship between positive and negative emotional states or is a topic of ongoing methodological and theoretical debate. At issue is whether positive and negative emotions are opposite ends of a bipolar continuum or independent dimensions in a bivariate distribution with little degree of overlap. In this review, we summarize a body of work suggesting that the distinction between positive and negative emotions varies both between and within individuals over time as a function of cognition and changes in informational demands, a perspective called the Dynamic Model of Affect (DMA). In addition to providing a unifying theoretical model that specifies the conditions under which both bivariate and bipolar models of affect may be valid, the DMA offers an integrative, multidimensional affective framework through which models of resilience and stress adaptation may be articulated. Future work should continue to explore the contextual factors, especially those that have relevance for the complexity of information processing, as potential moderators of the dynamic interplay between positive and negative emotions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cobeha.2017.05.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5679023PMC
June 2017

Emodiversity and biomarkers of inflammation.

Emotion 2018 02 22;18(1):3-14. Epub 2017 Jun 22.

Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University.

There is growing evidence that inflammatory responses may help to explain how emotions get "under the skin" to influence disease susceptibility. Moving beyond examination of individuals' average level of emotion, this study examined how the breadth and relative abundance of emotions that individuals experience-emodiversity-is related to systemic inflammation. Using diary data from 175 adults aged 40 to 65 who provided end-of-day reports of their positive and negative emotions over 30 days, we found that greater diversity in day-to-day positive emotions was associated with lower circulating levels of inflammation (indicated by IL-6, CRP, fibrinogen), independent of mean levels of positive and negative emotions, body mass index, anti-inflammatory medications, medical conditions, personality, and demographics. No significant associations were observed between global or negative emodiversity and inflammation. These findings highlight the unique role daily positive emotions play in biological health. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000343DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6145448PMC
February 2018

Daily positive events and diurnal cortisol rhythms: Examination of between-person differences and within-person variation.

Psychoneuroendocrinology 2017 Sep 3;83:91-100. Epub 2017 Jun 3.

Center for Healthy Aging, The Pennsylvania State University, United States; Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, United States.

Growing evidence from field studies has linked daily stressors to dysregulated patterns of diurnal cortisol. Less is known about whether naturally-occurring positive events in everyday life are associated with diurnal cortisol. The objectives of this study were to evaluate daily positive events as predictors of between-person differences and within-person (day-to-day) variations in diurnal cortisol parameters, in addition to daily positive events as buffers against the associations between daily stressors and cortisol. In the National Study of Daily Experiences, 1657 adults ages 33-84 (57% female) reported daily experiences during telephone interviews on 8 consecutive evenings. Saliva samples were collected 4 times per day on 4 interview days and assayed for cortisol. Multilevel models were used to estimate associations of daily positive events with cortisol awakening response (CAR), diurnal cortisol slope, and area under the curve (AUC). At the between-person level, people who experienced more frequent positive events exhibited a steeper diurnal cortisol slope, controlling for daily stressors, daily affect, and other covariates. At the within-person level, positive events in the morning (but not prior-night or afternoon/evening events) predicted steeper decline in cortisol across that day; positive events were also marginally associated with lower same-day AUC. Associations were not mediated by daily positive affect, and positive events did not buffer against stressor-related cortisol alterations. These findings indicate that individual differences and day-to-day variations in daily positive events are associated with diurnal cortisol patterns, independent of stressors and affect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.06.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5541940PMC
September 2017

Fusing Biodiversity Metrics into Investigations of Daily Life: Illustrations and Recommendations With Emodiversity.

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 2017 12;73(1):75-86

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

Objectives: Functionalist emotion and ecological systems theories suggest emodiversity-the variety and relative abundance of individuals' emotion experiences-is beneficial for psychological and physical health and may change with age. This paper examines and provides recommendations for operationalization of diversity-type intraindividual variability (IIV) constructs using intensive longitudinal data, and demonstrates the utility of emodiversity by examining its links to physical health moderated by mean levels of emotion and age.

Method: Using data from a daily diary study of 138 adults (age 40 to 65 years), we consider how item selection, response scale, choice of diversity index, and number of occasions enable/constrain mapping to theory, measurement reliability, and empirical inquiry.

Results: Item selection and response scale had limited influence on rank-order differences in diversity. Reliable measurement (r ≥ .8) required a minimum of 6 to 12 occasions depending on choice of index, theoretical conception, study design, and distribution of diversity scores. The empirical findings suggest mean level of negative affect, rather than age, moderates the relation between negative emodiversity and health.

Discussion: This study provides recommendations for the calculation of diversity-type IIV constructs and illustrates the potential for study of emodiversity to contribute to understanding of successful aging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbx025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5939690PMC
December 2017

Microaggressions and Daily Experience.

Perspect Psychol Sci 2017 01;12(1):173-175

1 Department of Human Development, Cornell University.

Psychologists use the term microaggressions to describe subtle forms of bias and discrimination experienced by members of marginalized groups. Lilienfeld (2017, this issue) makes an important contribution to the literature by presenting a critical review of the meaning and measurement of microaggression experiences. In this commentary, we argue that advancing the construct of microaggressions rests on research approaches that move beyond static representations of individuals to dynamic frameworks that observe people's lives as they unfold day to day. We discuss the conceptual potential of microaggressions as a bridging concept across multiple levels of analysis. We conclude that the intensive study of individuals over time can contribute to theory evaluation and offer new insights into the nature of unfolding processes that are theorized to be central to the manifestation of microaggressions in everyday life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1745691616664505DOI Listing
January 2017

Everyday unfair treatment and multisystem biological dysregulation in African American adults.

Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol 2017 01;23(1):27-35

Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California.

Objective: Increasing evidence suggests that chronic exposure to unfair treatment or day-to-day discrimination increases risk for poor health, but data on biological stress mechanisms are limited. This study examined chronic experiences of unfair treatment in relation to allostatic load (AL), a multisystem index of biological dysregulation.

Method: Data are from a sample of 233 African-American adults (37-85 years; 64% women). Perceptions of everyday unfair treatment were measured by questionnaire. An AL index was computed as the sum of 7 separate physiological system risk indices (cardiovascular regulation, lipid, glucose, inflammation, sympathetic nervous system, parasympathetic nervous system, hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis).

Results: Adjusting for sociodemographics, medication use, smoking status, alcohol consumption, depressive symptoms, lifetime discrimination, and global perceived stress, everyday mistreatment was associated with higher AL.

Conclusions: The results add to a growing literature on the effects of chronic bias and discrimination by demonstrating how such experiences are instantiated in downstream physiological systems. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000087DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5443680PMC
January 2017

Fragile and Enduring Positive Affect: Implications for Adaptive Aging.

Gerontology 2017 15;63(3):263-269. Epub 2016 Dec 15.

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.

There is robust evidence linking interindividual differences in positive affect (PA) with adaptive psychological and physical health outcomes. However, recent research has suggested that intraindividual variability or fluctuations in PA states over time may also be an important predictor of individual health outcomes. Here, we report on research that focuses on PA level and various forms of PA dynamics (variability, instability, inertia, and reactivity) in relation to health. PA level refers to the average level of positive feelings. In contrast, PA dynamics refer to short-term changes in PA that unfold over time. We discuss how consideration of both PA level and PA dynamics can provide a framework for reconciling when high PA is conducive or detrimental to health. We conclude that more work on PA dynamics is needed, especially in combination with PA level, and suggest productive questions for future inquiry in this area.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000453357DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5391284PMC
October 2017

Positive affect and sleep: A systematic review.

Sleep Med Rev 2017 10 25;35:21-32. Epub 2016 Jul 25.

University College London, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, London, UK.

A sizeable literature has implicated sleep in the phenomenological experience of various mood disorders, vulnerability to psychopathology, and overall poor psychological functioning. By contrast, positive affective states (e.g., joy, happiness, vigor, positive mood) that may contribute to sleep have been understudied. This systematic review integrates findings from cross-sectional, longitudinal, ambulatory, and experimental studies that investigate the association between positive affect and sleep. A comprehensive search for all available research on the topic was performed in three electronic bibliographic databases (PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL). Two independent reviewers extracted data on study characteristics and quality. From 10,853 retrieved articles, 44 fulfilled inclusion criteria and formed the base of the review. The majority of studies (68.2%, n = 30) were classified as weak or having high risk of bias. In general, the pattern of findings suggests that aggregate or trait measures provide the most consistent evidence of an association between positive affect and sleep in healthy populations. More limited empirical data exist on the association between positive affect and sleep in clinical populations. We conclude that more rigorous and theoretically informed research is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn about the possible beneficial impact of positive affect on sleep outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2016.07.006DOI Listing
October 2017

Trait Reappraisal Predicts Affective Reactivity to Daily Positive and Negative Events.

Front Psychol 2016 28;7:1000. Epub 2016 Jun 28.

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca NY, USA.

Past research on emotion regulation has provided evidence that cognitive reappraisal predicts reactivity to affective stimuli and challenge tests in laboratory settings. However, little is known about how trait reappraisal might contribute to affective reactivity to everyday positive and negative events. Using a large, life-span sample of adults (N = 1755), the present study addressed this important gap in the literature. Respondents completed a measure of trait reappraisal and reported on their daily experiences of positive and negative events and positive and negative affect for eight consecutive days. Results showed that trait reappraisal predicted lower increases in negative affect in response to daily negative events and lower increases in positive affect in response to daily positive events. These findings advance our understanding of the role of reappraisal in emotion regulation by showing how individual differences in the use of this strategy relate to emotional reactions to both positive and negative events outside the laboratory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01000DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4923164PMC
July 2016

Does Partner Responsiveness Predict Hedonic and Eudaimonic Well-Being? A 10-Year Longitudinal Study.

J Marriage Fam 2016 04 17;78(2):311-325. Epub 2015 Dec 17.

The Pennsylvania State University, United States.

Motivated by attachment theory and recent conceptualizations of perceived partner responsiveness as a core feature of close relationships, the present study examined change in hedonic and eudaimonic well-being over a decade in a sample of more than 2,000 married adults across the United States. Longitudinal analyses revealed that perceived partner responsiveness- the extent to which individuals believe that their partner cares for, appreciates, and understands them-predicted increases in eudaimonic well-being a decade later. These results remained after controlling for initial hedonic and eudaimonic well-being, age, gender, extraversion, neuroticism, and perceived responsiveness of family and friends. Affective reactivity, measured via an 8-day diary protocol in a subset of the sample, partially mediated this longitudinal association. After controlling for covariates, perceived partner responsiveness did not prospectively predict hedonic well-being. These findings are the first to document the long-term benefits of perceived partner responsiveness on eudaimonic well-being.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12272DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5458635PMC
April 2016

The Psychosocial Context of Financial Stress: Implications for Inflammation and Psychological Health.

Psychosom Med 2016 Feb-Mar;78(2):134-43

From the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine (Sturgeon), Stanford University, Palo Alto, California; Department of Psychology (Arewasikporn, Okun, Davis, Zautra), Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona; and Department of Human Development (Ong), Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

Objective: Psychological distress may contribute to chronic activation of acute-phase inflammation. The current study investigated how financial stressors influence psychosocial functioning and inflammation. This study examined a) the direct relations between financial stress and inflammation; b) whether the relationships between financial stress and inflammation are mediated in part by negative interpersonal events, psychological distress, and psychological well-being; and c) whether social standing in one's community moderates the relations between financial stress and psychological distress, psychological well-being, and markers of inflammation (interleukin-6 [IL-6] and C-reactive protein).

Methods: Stressful financial and interpersonal events over the previous year, perceived social status, indices of psychological well-being and distress, and levels of IL-6 and C-reactive protein were assessed in a community sample of 680 middle-aged adults (ages 40-65 years).

Results: Structural equation modeling analyses revealed significant relations among financial stress, interpersonal stress, and psychological distress and well-being, and complex relationships between these variables and inflammatory markers. Psychological well-being mediated the association between financial stress and IL-6 ([mediation] ab = 0.012, standard error [SE] = 0.006, p = .048). Furthermore, individuals with higher perceived social standing within their communities exhibited a stronger relation between negative financial events and both interpersonal stressors (interaction B = 0.067, SE = 0.017, p < .001) and C-reactive protein (interaction B = 0.051, SE = 0.026, p = .050).

Conclusions: Financial stress demonstrates complex relations with inflammation, due partly to psychological well-being and social perceptions. Findings are discussed with regard to the social context of stress and physiological factors pertinent to stress adaptation and inflammation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000276DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4738080PMC
October 2016

Loneliness and Health in Older Adults: A Mini-Review and Synthesis.

Gerontology 2016 6;62(4):443-9. Epub 2015 Nov 6.

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., USA.

Increasing evidence suggests that perceived social isolation or loneliness is a major risk factor for physical and mental illness in later life. This review assesses the status of research on loneliness and health in older adults. Key concepts and definitions of loneliness are identified, and the prevalence, correlates, and health effects of loneliness in older individuals are reviewed. Theoretical mechanisms that underlie the association between loneliness and health are also described, and illustrative studies examining these mechanisms are summarized. Intervention approaches to reduce loneliness in old age are highlighted, and priority recommendations for future research are presented.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000441651DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6162046PMC
January 2018

Purpose in life predicts allostatic load ten years later.

J Psychosom Res 2015 Nov 9;79(5):451-7. Epub 2015 Oct 9.

Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California, United States. Electronic address:

Objective: Living a purposeful life is associated with better mental and physical health, including longevity. Accumulating evidence shows that these associations might be explained by the association between life purpose and regulation of physiological systems involved in the stress response. The aim of this study was to investigate the prospective associations between life purpose and allostatic load over a 10-year period.

Methods: Analyses were conducted using data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) survey. Assessment of life purpose, psychological covariates and demographics were obtained at baseline, while biomarkers of allostatic load were assessed at the 10-year follow-up.

Results: We found that greater life purpose predicted lower levels of allostatic load at follow-up, even when controlling for other aspects of psychological well-being potentially associated with allostatic load. Further, life purpose was also a strong predictor of individual differences in self-health locus of control-i.e., beliefs about how much influence individuals can exert on their own health-which, in turn, partially mediated the association between purpose and allostatic load. Although life purpose was also negatively linked to other-health locus of control-i.e., the extent to which individuals believe their health is controlled by others/chance-this association did not mediate the impact of life purpose on allostatic load.

Conclusion: The current study provides the first empirical evidence for the long-term physiological correlates of life purpose and supports the hypothesis that self-health locus of control acts as one proximal psychological mechanism through which life purpose may be linked to positive biological outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2015.09.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684637PMC
November 2015

Affective reactivity to daily stressors is associated with elevated inflammation.

Health Psychol 2015 Dec 1;34(12):1154-65. Epub 2015 Jun 1.

Center for Healthy Aging.

Objective: Inflammation increases the risk of chronic diseases, but the links between emotional responses to daily events and inflammation are unknown. We examined individual differences in affective reactivity to daily stressors (i.e., changes in positive and negative affect in response to stressors) as predictors of inflammatory markers interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP).

Methods: A cross-sectional sample of 872 adults from the National Study of Daily Experiences (substudy of Midlife in the United States II) reported daily stressors and affect during telephone interviews for 8 days. Blood samples were obtained at a separate clinic visit and assayed for inflammatory markers. Multilevel models estimated trait affective reactivity slopes for each participant, which were inputted into regression models to predict inflammation.

Results: People who experienced greater decreases in positive affect on days when stressors occurred (i.e., positive affect reactivity) had elevated log IL-6, independent of demographic, physical, psychological, and behavioral factors (B = 1.12, SE = 0.45, p = .01). Heightened negative affect reactivity was associated with higher log CRP among women (p = .03) but not men (p = .57); health behaviors accounted for this association in women.

Conclusions: Adults who fail to maintain positive affect when faced with minor stressors in everyday life appear to have elevated levels of IL-6, a marker of inflammation. Women who experience increased negative affect when faced with minor stressors may be at particular risk of elevated inflammation. These findings add to growing evidence regarding the health implications of affective reactivity to daily stressors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/hea0000240DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4666844PMC
December 2015

Perceived Partner Responsiveness Predicts Diurnal Cortisol Profiles 10 Years Later.

Psychol Sci 2015 Jul 26;26(7):972-82. Epub 2015 May 26.

Department of Human Development, Cornell University.

Several decades of research have demonstrated that marital relationships have a powerful influence on physical health. However, surprisingly little is known about how marriage affects health--both in terms of psychological processes and biological ones. Over a 10-year period, we investigated the associations between perceived partner responsiveness--the extent to which people feel understood, cared for, and appreciated by their romantic partners--and diurnal cortisol in a large sample of married and cohabitating couples in the United States. Partner responsiveness predicted higher cortisol values at awakening and steeper (i.e., healthier) cortisol slopes at the 10-year follow-up. These associations remained strong after we controlled for demographic factors, depressive symptoms, agreeableness, and other positive and negative relationship factors. Furthermore, declines in negative affect over the 10-year period mediated the prospective association between responsiveness and cortisol slope. These findings suggest that diurnal cortisol may be a key biological pathway through which social relationships affect long-term health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797615575022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4504783PMC
July 2015

Chronic pain and the adaptive significance of positive emotions.

Am Psychol 2015 Apr;70(3):283-4

Weill Cornell Medical College.

The February-March 2014 special issue of the American Psychologist featured articles summarizing select contributions from the field of psychology to the assessment and treatment of chronic pain. The articles examined a range of psychosocial and family factors that influence individual adjustment and contribute to disparities in pain care. The reviews also considered the psychological correlates and neurophysiological mechanisms of specific pain treatments, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, hypnosis, acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness, and meditation. Although a number of articles emphasized the role that negative states of mind play in pain outcomes, positive emotions were given only brief mention. Here, we provide a rationale for the inclusion of positive emotions in chronic pain research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0038816DOI Listing
April 2015