Happiness and physical health: Associations with cardiovascular disease risk factors

Volume 2 - Issue 2
Janine Shepherd Melody Oliver Grant Schofield
Pages: 95-105 Download Count : 4605 View Count: 3810 Facebook Share on Google+ Save to Zotero Save to Mendeley


Evidence suggests that being significantly unhappy is associated with negative cardiac outcomes and that positive affect is beneficial to health. The aim of this study was to examine the relationships between happiness and the individual risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in otherwise healthy working adults. Participants were recruited from one workplace in Auckland, New Zealand and completed a CVD risk assessment and demographic, nutrition and physical activity, and Authentic Happiness Inventory (AHI) questionnaires. One-way ANOVAs were performed to identify whether any significant differences existed in AHI scores by demographic and health variables. Bivariable linear regression was used to investigate the relationship between potential predictor variables and AHI classification (low or high). Variables associated with AHI classification at p < 0.20 were then examined simultaneously in multivariable logistic regression. After elimination of all non-significant factors in the multivariable logistic regression, only smoking status remained negatively associated with AHI score (p = 0.016). Despite the fact that many smokers report that smoking makes them happy, smoking was negatively associated with happiness in this sample. This finding may be implemented in smoking cessation and CVD interventions and health promotion initiatives


  • Positive psychology
  • public health
  • smoking
  • health behaviours
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