The ratio between positive and negative affect, known as the positivity ratio (PR) is thought to be associated with flourishing (psychological and social well-being). However, little research has been done on how PR and flourishing relate to specific health behaviors. The relationships between PR and flourishing with health behavior i.e., physical activity, and diet (fruit, leafy green vegetables [LGV] and meat intake) were investigated in this study. We examined whether PR mediated the relationship between flourishing and health behaviors, and whether flourishing mediated the relationship between PR and these behaviors. Gender and ethnic differences for the above associations were examined were also examined.

Cross-sectional data from a subset (n=8,507) of the Biopsychosocial Religion and Health Study (BRHS) was used. All participants completed a 20 page questionnaire regarding religion, psychosocial and lifestyle mediators, and health. Data analyses were performed using partial correlation and general linear model analysis to test associations of PR and flourishing with control variables.

PR was moderately correlated with flourishing (r = .502,p =< .001). PR was positively associated with physical activity after controlling for age, education, difficulty meeting expenses (β = .125,p < 001). This relationship remained statistically significant after additional adjustments for flourishing and BMI. Similarly, flourishing was positively associated with physical activity (β = .077,p < .001). After adjustment for PR, the association remained statistically significant (β = .026, p = .042), but lost significance after controlling for BMI. PR was positively associated with fruit (p < .001) and LGV (p < .001) intake and negatively associated with meat intake (p < .001) after controlling for age, education, expenses and BMI. Further adjustments for flourishing and BMI did not change these relationships. Flourishing was positively associated with fruit and LGV intake and negatively associated with meat intake after adjusting for age, education, expenses and BMI (p < .001 for all). When we controlled for PR and BMI, only associations with fruit and LGV remained significant. There were no statistically significant gender and ethnic differences in these relationships.

In conclusion, PR and flourishing may be novel factors related to physical activity and dietary intake. Whether interventions designed to increase PR and flourishing will promote healthy behaviors requires future study.

LLU Discipline





School of Public Health

First Advisor

Jerry W. Lee

Second Advisor

Karen Jaceldo-Siegl

Third Advisor

Kelly R. Morton

Fourth Advisor

Serena Tonstad

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Psychology, Clinical; Health Behavior -- psychology; Emotions -- psychology; Expressed Emotion; Affective Symptoms; Personal Satisfaction; Life Style; Motor Activity; Nutrition; Cross-Sectional Studies.



Page Count

x; 115

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives