Fredrickson, B. L., Arizmendi, C., & Van Cappellen, P.
Read the paper here.
This project investigated same-day and lagged (i.e., from one day to the next) associations between daily positive affect and three distinct positive health behaviours: physical activity, fruit and vegetable intake, and meditation. Cross-day analyses also examined the role of positive affect felt during the targeted health behaviours.
Secondary data analyses used a 9-week daily diary study in which midlife adults (N = 217) were randomized to learn one of two contemplative practices (i.e., mindfulness meditation or loving-kindness meditation) while reporting nightly on their emotions and health behaviours.
Results of same-day analyses revealed positive associations, both between-person and within-person, for the three positive health behaviours with daily positive affect. Results of lagged analyses revealed that positive affect experienced during fruit and vegetable intake on a given day predicted next-day fruit and vegetable intake, and that fruit and vegetable intake on a given day predicted next-day positive affect.
The observed same-day relations between daily positive affect and engagement in positive health behaviours illuminate one path through which positive affect may contribute to health. The observed cross-day relations reveal a need for interdisciplinary research on mechanisms through which fruit and vegetable intake may shape next-day positive affect.
In February of this year, two of our Research Assistants and our Lab Manager had the opportunity to present their research at the Religion and Spirituality Preconference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference! Although the conference was virtual this year due to COVID-19, our lab members were thrilled to be able to disseminate their work among other enthusiastic social psychologists. Read more about the poster presenters & presentations below:
Strength and Robustness of the Relationship Between Hope and Religiosity in the 2016 General Social Survey
Pranav Athimuthu & Patty Van Cappellen
Prior studies on hope and religion involve restrictive samples and do not control for confounding variables. To fill this gap, we examined data from a sample of Americans in the GSS (N = 1,426). Results show a small correlation between religiosity and hope that remains significant when controlling for other variables. Thus, we recommend expanding the current narrow conceptualization of hope.
To God All the Glory: Prevalence of and Ways to Express Gratitude to God
Kerry O’Brien, Patty Van Cappellen, & Sara Algoe
Gratitude to God (GTG) is a common feeling but understudied compared to interpersonal gratitude. This study adds needed data on the prevalence and content of GTG expressions when reflecting on a personal success. Participants write about a personal success, express gratitude, and answer questions on gratitude attribution. Lastly, they describe the various ways they show GTG in everyday life.
Confess While Raising My Hands? Comfort in Various Prayer Postures Across Prayer Themes and Emotions
Gwyn Reece & Patty Van Cappellen
This study(N = 84 U.S. Christians) investigates self-reported comfort praying in six postures varying on body’s orientation (upward vs. downward) and use of space (expansive vs. constrictive) when praying in general, about specific common themes (e.g., humility, thanksgiving) and when feeling certain positive and negative emotions. Findings show that prayer postures are meaningfully associated with the topics of the prayer and the emotions felt while praying.
Objective: Meditation interventions promote an array of well-being outcomes. Yet, the way in which these interventions promote beneficial outcomes is less clear. Here, we expanded on prior work by examining the influence of mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation on a key health behavior: physical activity. Methods: To test our hypotheses, we drew upon two randomized intervention studies. In Study 1, 171 adults (73.0% female) received 6 weeks of training in either mindfulness meditation, loving-kindness meditation, or were assigned to a control condition. In Study 2, 124 adults (60.0% female) were assigned to a 6-week mindfulness or loving-kindness meditation group. Results: Study 1 demonstrated that individuals who received mindfulness training reported sustained levels of physical activity across the intervention period (Pre: M = 4.09, SD = 2.07; Post M = 3.68, SD = 2.00; p = .054), while those in the control (Pre: M = 3.98, SD = 2.25; Post M = 3.01, SD = 2.07; p < .001) and loving-kindness (Pre: M = 4.11, SD = 2.26; Post M = 3.45, SD = 1.96; p < .001) conditions reported lower levels. Study 2 demonstrated those who received mindfulness training experienced increases in positive emotions during physical activity from pre to post-intervention (Pre: M = 6.06, SD = 2.51; Post: M = 6.54, SD = 2.43, p = .001), whereas those trained in loving-kindness meditation experienced decreases in positive emotions during physical activity (Pre: M = 6.45, SD = 2.35; Post: M = 6.09, SD = 2.46, p = .040). Conclusions: These results suggest mindfulness training (but not loving-kindness training) promotes sustained physical activity, and one plausible reason why this occurs is enhanced positive emotion during physical activity.
Don, B., P., Van Cappellen, P., & Fredrickson, B. L. (in press). Understanding engagement in and affective experiences during physical activity: The role of meditation interventions. Psychosomatic Medicine.
Patty Van Cappellen, Megan E. Edwards, & Barbara L. Fredrickson
Positive emotions feel good and build psychological, social, and biological resources (Broaden-and-Build Theory, Fredrickson, 1998, 2013). People who identify as religious or spiritual value them and report feeling them frequently. They are also prevalent in religious and spiritual practices, such as prayer, meditation, and collective worship. We review the literature on the reciprocal relationship between positive emotions and religion/spirituality and identify individual differences predicting greater positive emotions derived from engaging in religious practices. We suggest that beyond building religious/spiritual people’s well-being, positive emotions play a role in sustaining otherwise costly religious behaviors. We integrate our review in the proposed Upward Spiral Theory of Sustained Religious Practice.
Van Cappellen, P., Edwards, M., & Fredrickson, B. L. (in press). Upward spirals of positive emotions and religious behaviors. Current Opinion in Psychology. PDF