Psychological well-being is important for physical health

January 31, 2014

In a comprehensive review  published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics Carol Ryff described how major research findings have supported the link between psychological well-being and physical health.

The model of psychological well-being was developed more than two decades ago to address neglected aspects of positive functioning such as purposeful engagement in life, realization of personal talents and capacities, and enlightened self-knowledge.

The conceptual origins of this formulation are revisited and scientific products emerging from 6 thematic areas are examined: (1) how well-being changes across adult development and later life; (2) what are the personality correlates of well-being; (3) how well-being is linked with experiences in family life; (4) how well-being relates to work and other community activities; (5) what are the connections between well-being and health, including biological risk factors, and (6) via clinical and intervention studies, how psychological well-being can be promoted for ever-greater segments of society.

Together, these topics illustrate flourishing interest across diverse scientific disciplines in understanding adults as striving, meaning-making, proactive organisms who are actively negotiating the challenges of life. A take-home message is that increasing evidence supports the health protective features of psychological well-being in reducing risk for disease and promoting length of life. A recurrent and increasingly important theme is resilience - the capacity to maintain or regain well-being in the face of adversity.

Explore further: UW–Madison researchers expanding study on human resilience

More information: Ryff C.D. Psychological Well-Being Revisited: Advances in the Science and Practice of Eudaimonia. Psychother Psychosom 2014;83:10-28. DOI: 10.1159/000353263

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