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Emotional Well-Being: Emerging Insights and Questions for Future Research

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) supports research on the subjective well-being of older adults. On April 3-4, 2018, in Bethesda, MD, NIA collaborated with the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), and other National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutes, centers, and offices, to co-sponsor a roundtable discussion aimed at gaining a deeper insight into existing research on the role of emotional well-being in health, with the goal of advancing research in this area. The meeting addressed issues in developing, testing, and implementing intervention strategies to promote emotional well-being. Presentations focused on models of success, including: Interventions that either produced better health outcomes through promotion of emotional resilience, including cases in which: (1) a component of emotional well-being is explicitly identified as the intervention target, or (2) a change in emotional well-being is found to be a mediator of change in health, or (3) interventions in which improvement of some aspect of emotional well-being itself was the desired outcome. Participants were asked to discern common themes across the models of success with the goal of identifying research gaps and opportunities for NIH's consideration. A report is available online.

A related 2013 NIA-sponsored National Academies report "Subjective Well-being: Measuring Happiness, Suffering, and Other Dimensions of Experience" is also available.