Clinical Psychology 6 (2013), 1-2, 95-109


The Relationship between Subjective Wellbeing and Physical Health

Ivana Marčinko - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Osijek

Fulltext (croatian, pages 95-109).pdf

The aim of this paper was to shed light on the role of well-being in health. A review of the literature shows that subjective well-being is related to self-rated health and objective health measures. As far as mortality is concerned, some studies point to a positive association between subjective well-being and longevity while others, which included older subjects, imply that high levels of well-being contribute to mortality. Besides, subjective well-being is associated with lower morbidity, survival from fatal illnesses and positively affects the immune response. Looking into findings that pertain to the relationship between positive affectivity (PA) and negative affectivity (NA) and health, it could be concluded that the data are not homogeneous. However, certain bodies of evidence point to a stronger association of PA and objective health measures and of NA and subjective health measures. PA is associated with longer life span, lower risk of various illnesses, better immunologic functions and higher pain threshold. Research on the relationship between NA and objective health is inconsistent, indicating a weak association between these variables. However, negative effects of NA on the appraisal and interpretation of somatic symptoms are systematically confirmed. Since the problems with data generalization have been explained by the lack of agreement on how to measure well-being, along with inconsistencies in the terminology and measurement of physical health, suggestions and recommendations regarding methodology have been offered which should contribute to the quality of future research and findings that stem from it.

subjective well-being, positive affectivity, negative affectivity, emotions, health

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