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Unformatted text preview: Psychological Resilience and Positive Emotional Granularity: Examining the Benefits of Positive Emotions on Coping and Health Michele M. Tugade Vassar College Barbara L. Fredrickson University of Michigan and Lisa Feldman Barrett Boston College ABSTRACT For centuries, folk theory has promoted the idea that positive emotions are good for your health. Accumulating empirical ev- idence is providing support for this anecdotal wisdom. We use the broad- en-and-build theory of positive emotions (Fredrickson, 1998; 2001) as a framework to demonstrate that positive emotions contribute to psycho- logical and physical well-being via more effective coping. We argue that the health benefits advanced by positive emotions may be instantiated in Michele M. Tugade, Department of Psychology, Vassar College; Barbara L. Fred- rickson, Department of Psychology and Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan; and Lisa Feldman Barrett, De- partment of Psychology, Boston College. Preparation of this paper was supported by a National Service Research Award from the NIMH (F32-MH64267) to Michele Tugade; grants from the NIMH (MH53971 and MH59615) and funds from the John Templeton Foundation to Bar- bara Fredrickson; and NSF grants SBR-9727896, BCS 0074688 and NIMH grant K02 MH001981 to Lisa Feldman Barrett. Correspondence should be addressed to Michele M. Tugade at the Department of Psychology, Vassar College, 124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY, 12604. Electronic mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Journal of Personality 72:6, December 2004. Blackwell Publishing 2004 certain traits that are characterized by the experience of positive emotion. Towards this end, we examine individual differences in psychological re- silience (the ability to bounce back from negative events by using positive emotions to cope) and positive emotional granularity (the tendency to represent experiences of positive emotion with precision and specificity). Individual differences in these traits are examined in two studies, one us- ing psychophysiological evidence, the second using evidence from expe- rience sampling, to demonstrate that positive emotions play a crucial role in enhancing coping resources in the face of negative events. Implications for research on coping and health are discussed. Cheerfulness is the best promoter of health, and is as friendly to the mind as to the body . Joseph Addison (English essayist, poet, and dramatist; 16721719) For centuries, folk wisdom has promoted the idea that positive emotions are good for your health: A good laugh makes you healthy (Swedish proverb); The joyfulness of man prolongeth his days (Bible, Ecclesiasticus. 30:22); Mirth and merriment . . . bars a thousand harms and lengthens life (Shakespeare). Oftentimes in sci- ence, empirical evidence emerges to refute anecdotal wisdom. In the case of positive emotions and health, however, accumulating evi- dence is providing empirical support for such folk theories. Researchdence is providing empirical support for such folk theories....
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