Positive Health and Health Assets: Re-analysis of Longitudinal Datasets

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"Most approaches to health over the centuries have focused on the absence of illness. In contrast, we are investigating Positive Health —well-being beyond the mere absence of disease. In this article, we describe our theoretical framework and empirical work to date on Positive Health. Positive Health empirically identifies health assets by determining factors that predict health and illness over and above conventional risk factors. Biological health assets might include, for example, high heart rate variability, high levels of HDL, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Subjective health assets might include positive emotions, life satisfaction, hope, optimism, and a sense of meaning and purpose. Functional health assets might include close friends and family members; a stable marriage; meaningful work; participation in a social community; and the ability to carry out work, family, and social roles."


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation / University of Pennsylvania