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You are here: Home / About Dr. Buss's Research / Health And Positivity In the Preschool Years (HAPPY)

Health And Positivity In the Preschool Years (HAPPY)

happy childThis study was an extension of TIKES study in collaboration with Dr. Cynthia Stifter (HDFS) and Dr. Alysia Blandon.

happy childThe role of emotions in physical health has been well established.  In general, negative emotions appear to be implicated in a number of illnesses.  More recently, the role of positive emotions, attitudes and dispositions has been studied in relation to health and the evidence points to positivity as a buffer, particularly under conditions of stress.  Some studies suggest that the relation between emotions and health may be through cardiovascular and adrenocortical reactivity.  Most of the findings on emotions and health come from studies using adult populations.  Very few investigations have examined health and emotion in young children and to date, none has looked at positivity.   We proposed to examine the role of positive emotions/emotionality in child well-being, including common illnesses and accidents/injuries.  We looked at their RSA/PEP and cortisol responses to challenge.  As children vary on the degree to which they experience and express positive affect, we also examined the relation between temperament and health.  Finally, parents are central to the expression and regulation of emotion.  In the study we looked at how parents socialized and/or regulated the positive affect of their preschool children. 

Dollar, Buss, & Stifter, 2013
Morales et al., in press

happy child