Psychological well-being and salivary markers of inflammation: The moderating effect of age

Lee, S.-H., Chey, J., Ahn, W.-Y., Woo, C.-W., Yum, Y., Kim, H., Oh, N., Park, H., Gim, S., & Choi, I. 2022. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being


Increasing evidence suggests a significant impact of higher psychological well-being (PWB) on health outcomes; however, such associations have been studied exclusively in middle-aged to older adults. This study examined the aging effect on PWB measures as well as the moderating effect of age on the link between PWB and inflammation, using salivary markers by comparing the younger adults (n = 127; Mage = 22.98 years) versus older adults (n = 75; Mage = 75.60 years). Older adults showed significantly lower levels of PWB, particularly regarding purpose in life and personal growth. Moreover, higher purpose in life was associated with lower salivary IL-1ß and IL-6 (b = 0.83, p < .001; b = 0.81, p < .01) only in the older adult group but not in younger adults. These findings highlight the potential buffering effect of the sense of living well on physiological pathways in later life.