This U24 application is written in response to RFA-AT-20-003 to establish a high-priority research network on emotional well-being (EWB). While psychological research on well-being has dramatically increased over the past 15 years, virtually all of this work has been descriptive and has not emphasized the ?how? of well-being: How might well-being be cultivated? In addition, virtually all of the extant work on the correlates of individual differences in well-being has used responses on retrospective questionnaires as the primary tool to assess well-being. While there have been exciting findings, particularly relating individual differences in well-being to various indices of physical health, many questions remain and methodological limitations plague the validity of this work. This U24 network will assemble a highly multi-disciplinary group of 10 investigators across 3 (or more in the future) institutions to significantly advance our understanding of the ?how? of EWB, identify the core plastic constituents of EWB, specify and/or develop robust measures of these constituents at biological, behavioral and experiential levels of analysis and characterize the plasticity of these constituents. The measurement strategy will ultimately focus on the development of technology-based passive measures of EWB that require no explicit user input and are highly scalable. The network will also focus its efforts on the development and evaluation of programs to train EWB and will assess whether such programs might serve as prevention strategies. The network will consist of scientists and scholars from a broad range of fields including psychology, neuroscience, electrical and computer engineering, population health and biology, computer science and the humanities. These scientists and scholars will focus on the following major aims:
Aim 1 : To arrive at a core consensus of the minimal set of constituents that can be described and measured at biological, behavioral and experiential levels that constitute the plastic elements of EWB and to specify already existing measures and /or develop novel measures of each of these constructs at each level of analysis.
Aim 2 : Using the active measures described in Aim 1, to develop passive measures using digital technologies of at least two of the core constituents of well-being.
Aim 3 : To develop pilot projects specifically focusing on prevention strategies for learning well-being in various samples. The network will train new investigators and bring established investigators into this new field, disseminate a framework for understanding the plasticity of well- being, a toolbox of measures for assessing the plasticity of components of well-being, and several pilot datasets that showcase the novel passive and field-friendly biological measures. In these ways, the network will dramatically accelerate progress in the nascent field of EWB.

Public Health Relevance

This U24 network on emotional well-being (EWB) will catalyze the emerging field of the plasticity of well-being and will showcase how well-being can be learned and the consequences of such skill development on physical and emotional health and on prevention of disease. A framework for understanding how well-being can be learned along with measures of the core components of well-being that can be learned will be developed and disseminated. The network will also train new investigators in this area and will engage established investigators to contribute to this field.

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 Wisconsin Madison
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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