Positive Affect and Health Behaviors Across 5 Years in Patients with Coronary Heart Disease: The Heart and Soul Study

Nancy L. Sin*, Judith Tedlie Moskowitz, Mary A. Whooley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Objectives Positive psychological states are linked to superior health and longevity, possibly due to behavioral factors. We evaluated cross-sectional and 5-year associations between positive affect and health behaviors in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). Methods Outpatients with CHD reported positive affect, physical activity, sleep quality, medication adherence, cigarette smoking, and alcohol use at baseline (n = 1022) and 5 years later (n = 662). Covariates in regression analyses included demographics, cardiac disease severity, and depressive symptoms. Results At baseline, higher positive affect (per 1 standard deviation) was associated with better health behaviors: physical activity (odds ratio [OR] = 1.52, 95% 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.30-1.77, p <.001), sleep quality (OR = 1.24, 95% CI = 1.04-1.48, p =.015), medication adherence (OR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.12-1.90, p =.005), and nonsmoking (OR = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.06-1.57, p =.012), but was unrelated to alcohol use. Baseline positive affect did not predict health behaviors at follow-up, accounting for baseline behaviors. However, increases in positive affect across 5 years co-occurred with improvements in physical activity (B = 0.023, standard error [SE] = 0.008, p =.002), sleep quality (B = 0.011, SE = 0.005, p =.039), and medication adherence (B = 0.014, SE = 0.004, p <.001), but not smoking status (OR = 1.07, 95% CI = 0.73-1.55, p =.74). Conclusions Positive affect was associated with health behaviors among patients with CHD. Efforts to sustain or enhance positive affect may be promising for promoting better health behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1058-1066
Number of pages9
JournalPsychosomatic medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • coronary heart disease
  • health behaviors
  • medication adherence
  • physical activity
  • positive affect
  • sleep quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology


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