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Emotional Well-being Network and Stress Measurement Network: 2021/22 Awardees

Congratulations to the awardees of the Utilization of Large Scale Cohort Studies to Examine Health and Aging Trajectories Funding Opportunity!

The Network for Emotional Well-being: Science, Practice, and Measurement, a collaborative project between UCSF, UC Berkeley, and Harvard, in partnership with the NIA-funded Stress Measurement Network, will support applicants for secondary data analysis projects with a $10,000.00 Emotional Well-being & Health Data Analysis Award. We expect to give out 4-5 awards.

Learn more about the past awardees and their projects below!


Dr. Anne-Josée Guimond

Project Title: Characterizing the biological mechanisms behind the association of psychological well-being with cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality

Project Description: "The objectives for this application are to gain greater insight into how multiple facets of psychological well-being (PWB) may be associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and all-cause mortality and to consider whether PWB facets are equally protective, and if the effects may be cumulative across facets. More specifically, we aim to evaluate prospectively if 4 facets of PWB (i.e., optimism, purpose in life, positive affect and life satisfaction), either separately or combined, are associated with reduced CVD risk and all-cause mortality, and to identify key biological mechanisms underlying these associations. This research will leverage existing data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a prospective cohort of older adults that includes measures of these PWB facets, as well as biological processes relevant for CVD."


Dr. Emily Willroth

Project Title: Psychological Well-being Trajectories and Cognitive Resilience to Neuropathology

Project Description: "Not all older adults with dementia-related neuropathology experience cognitive decline or impairment. Instead, some people maintain relatively normal cognitive functioning despite neuropathologic burden, a phenomenon called cognitive resilience. Identifying protective factors associated with cognitive resilience is crucial for preventing Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias. Recent research conducted by our research team suggests that psychological well-being is robustly associated with greater cognitive resilience, above and beyond other well-established resilience and risk factors. However, we do not yet understand how psychological well-being across older adulthood (rather than at a single point in time) is associated with cognitive resilience. Consistent with lifespan developmental theory, psychological well-being changes across older adulthood and consideration of this longitudinal change is necessary to fully understand how it may promote cognitive resilience. The proposed research will address this gap by testing associations between psychological well-being trajectories and cognitive resilience (Aim 1) and by examining developmental fluctuations in the strength of the association between psychological well-being and cognitive resilience (Aim 2). Together, this research will improve our understanding of how psychological well-being may protect against dementia."


Dr. Hio Wa (Grace) Mak

Project Title: The measurement of affect reactivity to daily stressors and its relations to long-term mental and physical health

Project Description: Dr. Hio Wa Mak is a Psychology and Medicine Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Mak’s research examines social, emotional, and physiological processes at different timescales that influence individuals’ mental and physical health across the lifespan. In this awarded project, she seeks to advance the measurement of affect reactivity to daily stressors and examine SES and race differences in stress exposure and reactivity and their relations to long-term mental and physical health outcomes.


Dr. Julia Boehm & Dr. Jennifer Boylan

Project Title: Flourishing in Their Own Words: A Mixed Method Analysis to Investigate Well-Being, Social Structural Factors, and Health

Project Description: "To get an in-depth sense of how individuals from diverse racial and educational backgrounds experience well-being, we propose a mixed-methods approach using data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) Study, a national longitudinal study of midlife and old age. Our overarching goal is to highlight individuals’ unique perspectives about what contributes to their well-being and link those perspectives to social structural factors and health. More specifically, our first aim is to qualitatively investigate how MIDUS respondents describe their own well-being in open-ended responses to the question “What do you do to make your life go well?” We will develop a coding scheme informed by past research to identify themes in each open-ended response. This coded qualitative data will then be shared with the scientific community so other researchers can use it in their own work. The second aim is to quantitatively investigate whether self-identified themes of well-being are patterned by the social structural factors of education and race. The third aim is to quantitatively investigate whether self-identified themes of well-being are related to objectively-assessed ideal cardiovascular health and self-reported health."


Cameron Ross Wiley, M.A.

Project Title: The Differential Impact of Protective Psychosocial Factors on Physical Well-Being in Blacks and Whites: Evidence from Large Cohort Studies

Project Description: "Blacks have frequently been shown to be afflicted with higher rates of several prominent health maladies, including cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, compared to their White counterparts. Despite the development of treatments that aim to mitigate the prevalence and impact of major health risks (e.g., hypertension), Blacks continue to show disproportionately higher rates of overall morbidity and mortality. While researchers have explored psychological and biological mechanisms that may underlie racial health disparities, these efforts typically examine factors that propagate health inequities (e.g., stress) rather than prevent them. In recent years, psychological research has highlighted positive emotional well-being and social support as factors that have generally salubrious effects on health outcomes. However, little research has considered that these protective psychological factors may differentially influence health based on race. Expanding this area of research is crucial, as previous evidence suggests that Blacks and Whites differ in 1) the types and levels of stress they experience, 2) their appraisal, report, and regulation of emotions, and 3) the types of social factors, networks, and relationships they value. Thus, the current proposal seeks to explore whether various well-being factors are equally beneficial for health across race. Enabled by the grant’s funding mechanism, we will use data from the second wave of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS II) to examine the connections between measures of both positive emotional well-being and social connections as they relate to measures of both subjective and objective health, and to determine if these associations differ between Blacks and Whites."


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