How do people find happiness and health over time?

Close Relationships

Close relationships are important contributors to health and well-being across the lifespan! One line of my work examines the role of our various close relationships on our health and well-being outcomes.

For example, romantic relationships may be particularly important for older adults. While their social network might be shrinking, people spend a great deal of time with their partners and the health/well-being benefits from this relationship may accrue over the years. Having an optimistic partner can be a protective factor for cognitive functioning in older adulthood. Read more about this work here.


Although positive romantic relationships are an important contributor of people’s health and well-being, the number of single people is rising, and people tend to stay single longer. Another line of my work examines identifying predictors of satisfying and healthy single lives. For instance, from year to year, people who tended to be generally happier overall viewed their single experience more positively. Read more about this work here.


I’m also interested in how people differ from one another and what this means for their lives across the lifespan. For example, more optimistic people reported engaging in healthier behaviors, better health, higher life satisfaction, and higher purpose in life 25 years later. Read more about this work here.

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