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department of psychology University of Wisconsin - Madison
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image: Carol Rogers

Phone: (608) 262-5597

Office: 415 Psychology

Institute on Aging

Carol Ryff
Ph.D. 1978, Penn State

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Research Interest

My research is strongly multidisciplinary and focuses on how various aspects of psychological well-being are contoured by broad social structural influences such as age, gender, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and culture as well as how psychological well-being is linked with biological factors (e.g., neuroendocrine regulation, inflammatory processes, cardiovascular risk). The latter work addresses the mechanisms and pathways through which well-being may confer protection against illness and disease. Resilience is an overarching theme in putting these many levels of analysis (social structural, psychosocial, neurobiological) together. I currently direct the MIDUS (Midlife in the U.S.) national study of Americans (, which has become a major forum for integrative, multidisciplinary studies of health and well-being, as well as a parallel study in Japan known as MIDJA (Midlife in Japan).

Representative Publications


Ryff, C.D. (2014). Psychological well-being revisited: Advances in the science and practice of eudaimonia. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 83, 10-28. doi:10.1159/000353263

Schaefer, S.M., Boylan, J.M., van Reekum, C.M., Lapate, R.C., Norris, C.J., Ryff, C.D., & Davidson, R.J. (2013). Purpose in life predicts better emotional recovery from negative stimuli. PLOS One, 8, e80329. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080329

Heller, A.S., van Reekum, C.M., Schaefer, S.M., Lapate, R.C., Radler, B.T., Ryff, C.D., & Davidson, R.J. (2013). Sustained ventral striatal activity predicts eudaimonic well-being and cortisol output. Psychological Science, 24, 2192-2000. doi:10.1177/0956797613490744

Miyamoto, Y., Boylan, J.M., Coe, C.L., Curhan, K.B., Levine, C.S., Markus, H.R., Park, J., Kitayama, S., Kawakami, N., Karasawa, M., Love, G.D., & Ryff, C.D. (2013). Negative emotions predict elevated interleukin-6 in the United States but not Japan.  Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 34, 79-85. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2013.07.173

Boylan, J.M., & Ryff, C.D. (2013). Varieties of anger and the inverse link between education and inflammation: Toward an integrated framework. Psychosomatic Medicine, 75, 566-574. doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e31829683bd

Ryff, C.D., Friedman, E., Fuller-Rowell, T., Love, G., Morozink, J., Radler, B., Tsenkova, V. & Miyamoto, Y. (2012). Varieties of resilience in MIDUS. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 6, 792-806. doi:10.1111/j.1751-9004.2012.00462.x

Javaras, K.N., Schaefer, S.M., van Reekum, C.M., Lapate, R.C., Greischar, L.L., Bachhuber, D.R., Love, G.D., Ryff, C.D., & Davidson, R.J. (2012). Conscientiousness predicts greater recovery from negative emotion. Emotion, 12, 875-881. doi:10.1037/a0028105

Friedman, E.M., & Ryff, C.D. (2012). Living well with medical co-morbidities: A biopsychosocial perspective. Journal of Gerontology, Psychological Sciences, 67, 535-544. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbr152

Tsenkova, V.K., Carr, D., Coe, C.L., & Ryff, C.D. (2012). Synergistic effect of neuroticism and BMI on glucose metabolism in nondiabetic adults. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 81, 327-328. doi:10.1159/000337413

Coe, C.L., Love, G.D., Karasawa, M., Kawakami, N. Kitayama, S., Markus, H.R., Tracy, R.P., & Ryff, C.D. (2011). Population differences in proinflammatory biology: Japanese have healthier profiles than Americans. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity, 25, 494-502. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2010.11.013

Tsenkova, V., Schoeller, D., Carr, D., & Ryff, C.D. (2011). Perceived weight discrimination amplifies the link between central adiposity and nondiabetic glycemic control (HbAlc).  Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 41, 243-251. doi:10.1007/s12160-010-9238-9

Morozink, J.A., Friedman, E.M., Coe, C.L., & Ryff, C.D. (2010). Socioeconomic and psychosocial predictors of interleukin-6 in the MIDUS national sample. Health Psychology, 29, 626-635. doi:10.1037/a0021360

Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. (2008). Know thyself and become what you are: A eudaimonic approach to psychological well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, 13-39. doi:10.1007/s10902-006-9019-0

Ryff, C.D., Love, G.D., Urry, H.L., Muller, D., Rosenkranz, M.A., Friedman, E., Davidson, R.J., & Singer, B. (2006). Psychological well-being and ill-being: Do they have distinct or mirrored biological correlates? Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 75, 85-95. doi:10.1159/000090892

Friedman, E.M., Hayney, M.S., Love, G.D., Urry, H.L., Rosenkranz, M.A., Davidson, R.J., Singer, B.H., & Ryff, C.D. (2005). Social relationships, sleep quality, and interluekin-6 in aging women. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102, 18757-18762. doi:10.1159/000090892

Ryff, C.D., Keyes, C.L.M., & Hughes, D.L. (2003). Status inequalities, perceived discrimination, and eudaimonic well-being: Do the challenges of minority life hone purpose and growth? Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 44, 275-291.

Keyes, C.L.M., Shmotkin, D., & Ryff, C.D. (2002). Optimizing well-being: The empirical encounter of two traditions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 1007-1022. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.82.6.1007

Ryff, C. D., Schmutte, P. S., & Lee, Y. H. (1996). How children turn out: Implications for parental self-evaluation. In C. D. Ryff & M. M. Seltzer (Eds.), The parental experience in midlife (pp.383-422). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Ryff, C. D., & Keyes, C. L. M. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 719-727. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.69.4.719

Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069-1081. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.57.6.1069

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Madison, WI 53706-1969
Office: (608) 262-1040
FAX: (608) 262-4029