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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. Sep 29, 2004; 359(1449): 1383–1394.
PMCID: PMC1693417
Positive health: connecting well-being with biology.
Carol D Ryff, Burton H Singer, and Gayle Dienberg Love
Institute on Aging, 2245 Medical Science Center, 1300 University Avenue, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
Carol D Ryff: cryff/at/
Two key types of well-being, eudaimonic and hedonic, are reviewed. The first addresses ideas of self-development, personal growth and purposeful engagement, while the second is concerned with positive feelings such as happiness and contentment. How well-being varies by age and socio-economic standing is briefly summarized, followed by examination of its biological correlates (neuroendocrine, immune, cardiovascular, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep). Preliminary findings on a sample of ageing women showed that those with higher levels of eudaimonic well-being had lower levels of daily salivary cortisol, pro-inflammatory cytokines, cardiovascular risk, and longer duration REM sleep compared with those showing lower levels of eudaimonic well-being. Hedonic well-being, however, showed minimal linkage to biomarker assessments. Future research directions building on these initial findings are discussed.
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