Fusing biodiversity metrics into investigations of daily life: Illustrations and recommendations with emodiversity

Lizbeth Benson, Nilam Ram, David M. Almeida, Alex J. Zautra, Anthony D. Ong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objectives: Functionalist emotion and ecological systems theories suggest emodiversity-the variety and relative abundance of individuals' emotion experiences-is beneficial for psychological and physical health and may change with age. This paper examines and provides recommendations for operationalization of diversity-type intraindividual variability (IIV) constructs using intensive longitudinal data, and demonstrates the utility of emodiversity by examining its links to physical health moderated by mean levels of emotion and age. Method: Using data from a daily diary study of 138 adults (age 40 to 65 years), we consider how item selection, response scale, choice of diversity index, and number of occasions enable/constrain mapping to theory, measurement reliability, and empirical inquiry. Results: Item selection and response scale had limited influence on rank-order differences in diversity. Reliable measurement (r ≥ .8) required a minimum of 6 to 12 occasions depending on choice of index, theoretical conception, study design, and distribution of diversity scores. The empirical findings suggest mean level of negative affect, rather than age, moderates the relation between negative emodiversity and health. Discussion: This study provides recommendations for the calculation of diversity-type IIV constructs and illustrates the potential for study of emodiversity to contribute to understanding of successful aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-86
Number of pages12
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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