Although the critical role of Emotional Well-Being (EWB; e.g., life satisfaction, happiness, meaning and purpose, positive emotions) in public health is increasingly acknowledged, research has lagged due to lack of consensus on essential components of EWB, valid ways to measure its components, and mechanisms to inform intervention theory. Mind-body interventions (MBIs) increasingly demonstrate effectiveness in reducing adverse mental health states, including dysfunction, depression, anxiety, and stress. Whether MBIs are also effective in promoting EWB, however, remains far less clear. Further, the mechanisms through which MBIs facilitate EWB and especially how they may work to target EWB across the life course (e.g., children, caregivers, adults with health challenges) remain largely unknown. To address this crucial gap in knowledge, we respond to RFA-AT-20-003 in proposing to lead a network to deepen our understanding of EWB measurement approaches and their role in MBIs as outcomes and as mechanisms. We capitalize on MPIs' interdisciplinary expertise in MBIs, EWB, measurement, neuroimaging, and inter-generational transmission and tap our broad network of colleagues across disciplines. To promote research linking MBIs and EWB, new avenues and resources are needed. First, we need to more fully characterize the dimensions comprising the umbrella construct of EWB. Second, we need to identify and/or create psychometrically sound instruments that fully capture these dimensions of wellbeing. Third, we need to identify the biological, psychological, and social mechanisms through which MBIs promote and maintain EWB. Inclusivity is essential; in addition to the more typical lifespan approach, we will focus on populations often excluded from this area of work by applying a developmental and inter-generational transmission lens that includes both child and caregiver populations as critical to work that moves the field vertically. Capitalizing on this critical moment in intervention science, we will establish a network that brings together a corps of researchers who can learn from one another's work to collectively establish innovative and rigorous scientific bases for a new generation of EWB research. The overarching goal of the network is to provide researchers with the conceptual and methodological resources to appropriately assess EWB and to promote interdisciplinary research that illuminates the role of EWB in MBIs as both an outcome itself and as a mechanism in improving mental and physical health outcomes. Specifically, we will create a taxonomy of components and collection of measures for EWB that spans the life course, establish a toolkit by refining measurement tools and approaches appropriate for populations across the life course, and identify potential mechanisms through which MBIs promote EWB. We will achieve these aims through a series of activities that include targeted strategies to engage a broad network of scholars including early career, focused meetings for co-learning and sharing findings, and robust multi-media dissemination.

Public Health Relevance

The proposal will: (1) establish a broad network that brings together a corps of interdisciplinary researchers to establish innovative and rigorous scientific bases to understand emotional well-being (EWB); (2) contribute important foundational knowledge of EWB by advancing a new generation of measurement and mechanistic research together; and (3) ultimately provide important information about understanding and promoting EWB across the life course including the use of mind-body interventions (MBIs), risk and protective factors as well as windows of opportunity to promote EWB.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Resource-Related Research Projects--Cooperative Agreements (U24)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAT1)
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Sabri, Merav
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University of Connecticut
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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