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Biological underpinnings of positive health in middle-aged women and men [abstract]
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
2006 (English)In: International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, ISSN 1070-5503, Vol. 13, no S1, 69- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The objective is to present our recent research on the biological underpinnings of positive health. In the first study, the Ryff scales covering self-acceptance, environmental mastery, positive relations, personal growth, purpose in life, and autonomy were used to measure positive health in female and male white-collar workers (n = 23) at the same workplace. Biological indicators, including salivary cortisol, urinary catecholamines and blood pressure, were collected during two workdays. The results revealed that individuals with high scores on the Ryff scales had significantly lower levels of morning cortisol and a significantly lower total cortisol output than did the others, while no significant differences emerged for catecholamines or blood pressure. In a second study, sense of coherence (SOC) was used to measure positive health in 43 year-old women (n = 244) who took part in a standardized medical examination. As hypothesized, the results showed that women reporting a strong SOC had significantly lower systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol than did those with a weak SOC. A third study explored further the longitudinal associations between SOC and allostatic load in women (n = 200). The results showed that, at age 43, SOC, nicotine consumption and allostatic load were significantly associated with SOC at age 49. Taken together, our studies indicate possible mechanisms linking self-reports of positive health to health-related biological reactions. It is suggested that, in comparison to individuals with low positive health, individuals with high positive health have access to resources for dealing successfully with daily life stress, which reduces chronic stress and cumulative load on bodily systems and contributes to long-term health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 13, no S1, 69- p.
Keyword [en]
Ryff scales, sense of coherence, biological mechanisms
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-19442OAI: diva2:185966
Available from: 2007-12-21 Created: 2007-12-21 Last updated: 2011-01-11Bibliographically approved

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Lindfors, PetraLundberg, Ulf
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Department of PsychologyCentre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS)

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