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Emotional Well-being Network and Stress Measurement Network: 2022/23 Awardees

Congratulations to the awardees of the 2022 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, support applicants for secondary data analysis projects with a $10,000.00 Emotional Well-being & Health Data Analysis Award.

Learn more about the recent awardees and their projects below!


Dr. Rui Sun

Project Title: Age Advantages in Emotional Wellbeing: The Roles of Socioeconomic Status, Stress and Inequality

Project Description: The age advantages in emotional wellbeing are robust and cross-culturally consistent. However, this does not necessarily mean that the age advantages do not vary within and across populations. In the present proposal, we aim to test whether people differing in terms of socioeconomic status (SES) may differentially benefit from aging, especially during conditions of high stress. Moreover, we seek to test whether the age advantages differ between people living in societies with different levels of income/wealth distribution (i.e., inequality). Establishing whether social disadvantage and inequality affect the age advantages has important implications for mental health interventions targeting older individuals. It is worth noting that the age advantages in emotional wellbeing are not limited to experiencing more positive emotions and less negative emotions, but also to many other measures of emotional wellbeing, such as (lack of) emotional distress, (lower rates of) anxiety and major depressive disorder, and life satisfaction.


Dr. Dakota Wayne Cintron

Project Title: An intersectional approach to understanding trajectories of well-being and health

Project Description: This project will examine the relationships between joint trajectories of psychological well-being (PWB) and subjective well-being (SWB) and later-life cognition and mortality across intersectional subgroups of middle-aged and older adults using longitudinal data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study. While the importance of examining “intersectionalities” has been recognized for discrimination and for psychology, the health consequences of unique intersectional identities (e.g., African American women) have rarely been considered alongside measures of PWB and SWB, jointly or independently. The project has four specific aims: Aim 1a: To model joint trajectories of PWB and SWB in middle-aged and older adults using parallel growth mixture modeling and Aim 1b: to assess how intersectional subgroups are associated with these latent classes of trajectories. Aim 2a: To evaluate whether parallel growth classes of PWB and SWB trajectories predict later-life cognition and Aim 2b: all-cause mortality. Aim 3: To examine whether intersectional subgroups moderate the relationship between trajectories of PWB and SWB and later-life cognition and mortality. Aim 4: Given the debate on the measurement of PWB and SWB as higher-order constructs or as individual lower-order constructs (e.g., positive affect, negative affect, and life-satisfaction for SWB), we will explore parallel growth trajectories defined using both the higher-order and lower-order constructs.


Dr. Dahee Kim

Project Title: Emotional Well-Being Trajectories following Family Members’ Negative Life Events: Determinants and Racial/Ethnic Differences

Project Description: Emotional well-being (EWB) is an important aspect of general well-being. EWB consists of multiple distinct aspects (life satisfaction, positive affect, and purpose in life) that collectively reflect how individuals positively feel in general regarding their lives overall. However, the EWB literature has tended to highlight just one part of EWB, often using a single indicator, and research examining the commonalities or differences in these indicators is sparse; for example, very little is known about differences in their trajectories over time. These potential differences over time are a notable gap in the literature, given that individual EWB is adversely affected by stressors. For example, since personal ongoing chronic stressors adversely affect single indicators of individuals’ EWB over time, collectively EWB trajectories may differ depending on the presence and duration of individuals’ chronic stress. Moreover, a particular constellation of stressors that encompasses both individual and family member negative life events might exacerbate the adverse impacts on individual EWB thereby delaying recovery from stress.

Further, sociocultural factors (e.g., gender, age, race, intersect with spirituality and social orientation) affect heterogeneity in individual family-related values and experiences, thus the expression, management, and recovery from stress may vary by the factors. Particularly, individual race/ethnicity may significantly affect inter- and intra- individual differences in positive EWB following negative life events and those of family members. These complex relationships have yet to be modeled, addressing this gap is the goal of the proposed study.


Dr. Arjen de Wit & Dr. Heng Qu

Project Title: Volunteering as a Buffer Against the Scars of Unemployment

Project Description: Unemployment, especially when involuntary, often has a negative effect on one’s emotional well-being. Having a social support network and performing a meaningful social activity through volunteering, however, could make volunteers less sensitive to the stress of job loss. This study will investigate to what extent volunteering serves as a buffer against the detrimental effects of unemployment. Our proposed study estimates how associations between unemployment and life satisfaction are different for volunteers and non-volunteers, and how these effects differ across age groups. We will analyze harmonized microdata from seven panel surveys, covering over 1,000,000 observations from more than 300,000 respondents in 22 European countries. This project offers three significant contributions: (1) We add robust evidence from Europe about the relationship between unemployment, volunteering, and life satisfaction, which contributes to the understanding of trajectories of emotional well-being across social groups in different contexts; (2) We provide policymakers with actionable information about the potential of volunteering as a way to cope with unemployment-related stress; (3) We provide open code and documentation to add these data to existing harmonization projects, providing a resource to other researchers for incorporating additional cohort studies.


Dr. Brian Don

Project title: The Haves and the Have Nots: Exploring How Economic Inequality Contributes to Emotional Well-Being and Health

Project Description: Income inequality has been described as one of the defining social challenges of our time. Prior research has established that perceptions and objective measures of income inequality contribute in a maladaptive manner to psychological ill-being (e.g., stress), and physical health. Despite this, little prior research has examined how income inequality contributes to emotional well-being, such as positive emotional experiences, meaning in life, and social well-being. Moreover, prior research has yet to examine the link between income inequality, emotional well-being, and health in a large, longitudinal cohort study. The goal of this work is to examine how perceived and actual income inequality contribute to emotional well-being and health using the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS), which is a nationally-representative, longitudinal cohort study, with 15 waves of data collection. Aim 1 is to examine the longitudinal association between perceived and actual income inequality and emotional well-being in the NZAVS. Aim 2 is to examine emotional well-being as a mediator between greater income inequality and maladaptive physical health outcomes.


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