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Subjective Well-Being and Biomarkers of Health: The Relationship between Subjective Well-Being, The immune system and Hypothalamic-Pituitary Adrenal Axis Activation
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

An association between inflammation and mood deterioration has been proposed as a potential explanatory mechanism underlying many pathologies. Previous research attributes this consistently reoccurring connection between inflammation and psychopathology that is often reported within the literature, to a relationship between the HPA axis, the body’s stress response system and the immune system. There is evidence of a bidirectional feedback loop between end-products of the immune system and the HPA-axis such as cytokines and cortisol. This is supported by research reporting that components of subjective well-being such as positive affect, optimism and life satisfaction can produce beneficial health outcomes by potentially targeting this feedback loop. The present longitudinal study tested if higher positive affect independently corresponds to lower levels of inflammatory markers Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP) and HPA axis marker cortisol. The study further tested if higher subjective well-being decreases levels of IL-6 and CRP as well as cortisol. The study employed a subsample of participants from the Midlife in Japan (MIDJA) Biomarker project (n=174) that underwent testing at two separate time points across a period of 4 years. The data included subjective well-being, positive affect, IL-6, CRP, cortisol, perceived stress, neuroticism and demographic variables. Positive affect was not associated with any inflammatory marker or cortisol. Subjective well-being had no effect on CRP but reduced IL-6 and cortisol even when controlling for all control and demographic variables. It is concluded that subjective well-being may be linked to lower inflammation and HPA axis activity.

Abstract [sv]

Ett samband mellan inflammation och sjukdomsbeteende har föreslagits som en förklaringsmekanism bakom förekomsten av många patologier. Den konsekventa anknytningen mellan inflammation och psykopatologi som många tidigare studier demonstrerat innebär ett samband mellan immunsystemet och HPA-axeln som är den struktur som utgör kroppens svar på stressorer. Det finns tecken på en återkopplingsslinga mellan slutprodukter av det immunologiska systemet och HPA-axeln såsom cytokiner och kortisol. Detta har stöd i tidigare forskning som rapporterat att komponenter av subjektivt välbefinnande så som positiv affekt, optimism och livstillfredställelse kan medföra positiva hälsoutfall genom att potentiellt influera denna återkopplingsslinga. Förevarande longitudinella studie testar om högre positiv affekt leder till lägre nivåer av de inflammatoriska markörerna interleukin-6 (IL-6) och C-reaktivt protein (CRP) samt HPA-axel markören kortisol. Studien testar vidare även om högre subjektivt välbefinnande leder till lägre nivåer av IL-6, CRP och kortisol. Deltagarna är ett subsampel från Biomarkerprojektet (n = 174) inom Midlife in Japan (MIDJA) som genomgick testning vid två separata tidpunkter över en period av 4 år. Data består av subjektivt välbefinnande, positiv affekt, IL-6, CRP, kortisol, upplevd stress, neuroticism samt demografiska variabler. Positiv affekt hade ingen signifikant effekt på någon av de inflammatoriska markörerna eller kortisol. Subjektivt välbefinnande hade inte någon signifikant effekt på CRP men reducerade signifikant IL-6 och kortisol och dessa effekter förblev signifikanta efter kontroll för samtliga kontroll och demografiska variabler. Följaktligen dras slutsatsen att subjektivt välbefinnande kan leda till lägre inflammation och HPA-axel aktivitet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 31
Keywords [en]
Subjective well-being, Positive affect, biomarkers, inflammatory cytokines, HPA axis, Interleukin 6, C-reactive protein, Cortisol
Keywords [sv]
Subjektivt välbefinnande, Positiv affekt, biomarkörer, inflammatoriska cytokiner, HPA- axeln, Interleukin-6, C-reaktivt protein, Kortisol
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-144135OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-144135DiVA, id: diva2:1176374
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Available from: 2018-01-24 Created: 2018-01-22 Last updated: 2018-01-24Bibliographically approved

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