Lifestyle and wellbeing: Exploring behavioral and demographic covariates in a large US sample


  • Johannes C Eichstaedt Stanford University
  • David B Yaden Johns Hopkins Medicine
  • Fernando Ribeiro University of Pennsylvania
  • Alejandro Adler Columbia University
  • Margaret L Kern The University of Melbourne



wellbeing, public policy, lifestyle, life satisfaction, positive emotion, negative emotion, eudaemonic,


Using data from a nationally representative sample of 46,179 US adults from the Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing Index, we investigate covariates of four subjective mental wellbeing dimensions spanning evaluative (life satisfaction), positive affective (happiness), negative affective (worry), and eudaimonic wellbeing. Negative covariates were generally more strongly correlated with the four dimensions than positive covariates, with depression, poor health, and loneliness being the greatest negative correlates and excellent health and older age being the greatest positive correlates. We reproduce previous evidence for a “midlife crisis” around age 50 across the four wellbeing dimensions. Notably, although salutogenic behaviors (diet, exercise, socializing) correlated with greater wellbeing, there were diminishing benefits beyond thresholds of about four hours a day spent socializing, four days per week of consuming fruits and vegetables, and four days per week of exercising. Findings suggest that wellbeing is easier lost than gained, underscore the influence that relatively malleable lifestyle factors have on wellbeing, and stress the importance of multidimensional measurement for public policy.


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