Fusing biodiversity metrics into investigations of daily life and healthy aging: Illustrations and recommendations with emodiversity

Open Access
Benson, Lizbeth Erin
Graduate Program:
Human Development and Family Studies
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
August 26, 2016
Committee Members:
  • Nilam Ram, Thesis Advisor
  • David Almeida, Committee Member
  • Lisa Michelle Kopp, Committee Member
  • longitudinal analysis
  • emotion
  • diversity
  • intraindividual variability
Objectives. Functionalist theories of emotion and models of biodiversity suggest links between diversity of the (emotional) ecosystem and health. This paper examines how diversity-type intraindividual variability constructs – particularly emodiversity - can be articulated using intensive longitudinal data. Method. Using data from a daily diary study (T = 30) of middle-age adults (N = 138; Sturgeon, Zautra, & Okun, 2014) to examine emodiversity in day-to-day life, we consider how item selection, measurement scale, number of occasions, and choice of diversity index map to theory, measurement reliability, and empirical inquiry. Results. The number of items, response scale, and choice of index have limited influence on measurement of diversity, while number of occasions and theoretical stance play important roles in terms of reliability and interpretation. The empirical examples suggests that at lower levels of positive and negative emodiversity, lower (-1 SD) mean positive and negative emotion were protective of physical health, whereas at higher levels of emodiversity, physical health was relatively high regardless of the level of mean emotion. Discussion. This study highlights the utility of intensive longitudinal data for operationalization of dynamic constructs, provides recommendations for calculating diversity-based IIV constructs, and illustrates the utility of emodiversity in studies of healthy aging.