Fragile and Enduring Positive Affect: Implications for Adaptive Aging

Anthony D. Ong, Nilam Ram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


There is robust evidence linking interindividual differences in positive affect (PA) with adaptive psychological and physical health outcomes. However, recent research has suggested that intraindividual variability or fluctuations in PA states over time may also be an important predictor of individual health outcomes. Here, we report on research that focuses on PA level and various forms of PA dynamics (variability, instability, inertia, and reactivity) in relation to health. PA level refers to the average level of positive feelings. In contrast, PA dynamics refer to short-term changes in PA that unfold over time. We discuss how consideration of both PA level and PA dynamics can provide a framework for reconciling when high PA is conducive or detrimental to health. We conclude that more work on PA dynamics is needed, especially in combination with PA level, and suggest productive questions for future inquiry in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-269
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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