October 21, 2020
Jin Wen has received the Student Research Award from the Gerontological Society of America’s Behavioral and Social Sciences Section. This award was given based on his Master’s thesis research on the role of perceived control in stress responses.
September 30, 2020
Better sleep can improve stress and increase positivity, study shows.
September 24, 2020
Unhappy? Sleep it off, says new UBC study
September 21, 2020
Often, the elderly handle the pandemic very well. Here’s why.
September 11, 2020
Who is handling the pandemic best emotionally? Boomers and other retirees.
September 10, 2020
Two UBC health psychologists, Dr. Nancy Sin and Dr. Eric Kim, have received the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Award. This award supports health researchers as they launch world-class research programs in B.C. For the award announcement, see:
The latest newsletter for the Gerontological Society of America featured our research on age differences in daily life experiences during the pandemic, led by PhD student Patrick Klaiber.
August 25, 2020
In a COVID-19 World, Which Generation Is Coping Best?
Crises Like the Pandemic Don’t Make People Less Optimistic
July 24, 2020
‘A surprise to no one’: Some coping better than others with COVID-19, research suggests.
COVID-19: Research shows older adults less worried during pandemic.
Patrick Klaiber talks about his new research on age differences in coping with the pandemic.
July 23, 2020
Patrick Klaiber (PhD student) has published a new paper showing that older adults were more psychologically resilient during the pandemic than younger and middle-aged adults. UBC press release: https://news.ubc.ca/2020/07/22/new-ubc-study-reveals-older-adults-coped-with-pandemic-best
June 30, 2020
We’d like to extend our warmest congratulations to Holy Ghaly on her graduation! Holy has earned a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology and Minor in Psychology. She has been a vital member of the UPLIFT Health Lab for the past two years and has shown great leadership as a research study coordinator and as a teaching assistant in health psychology. Holy – best wishes, and we look forward to hearing about your wonderful accomplishments in the future!
June 10, 2020
Fei Ying (3rd year undergraduate in Behavioural Neuroscience) was awarded the UBC Morris Belkin Prize for her research on variability in sleep timing and daily emotions.
May 24, 2020
Jin Wen has published a book chapter entitled “Positive Activity Interventions Targeted to Improve Depressive Symptoms” in the 2nd edition of Positive Psychological Science. For more information about the book, visit
May 20, 2020
Patrick Klaiber has been awarded a doctoral scholarship from the German National Scholarship Foundation (Promotionsstipendium der Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes)!
Jin Wen has successfully defended his MA thesis!
Former undergraduate Kevin Chi has accepted an offer for admission to the Psychology graduate program at Stanford University!
March 3, 2020
Dr. Sin will be giving a talk for Wellness Wednesday on March 4th as part of the BC Brain Wellness Program. For more information, please visit: https://www.bcbrainwellness.ca/events/wellness-wednesday-social-connections-and-your-community
January 15, 2020
Dr. Sin talks to VICE Canada about ways to maintain and recommit to our New Year’s resolutions.
Check out the Vancouver Sun’s article about the new study that we are launching (and see photos of Dr. Sin’s happy pups!)
December 22, 2019
December 15, 2019
The Early Edition with Stephen Quinn aired 5 days of segments with Dr. Sin talking about finding simple pleasures in the midst of holiday stress
November 19, 2019
The UPLIFT Health Lab’s research on sleep and well-being in middle-aged employees was cited in a New York Times article entitled “Sleep Can Be Good for Your Salary” (Nov. 4, 2019).
The UPLIFT Health Lab attended the Gerontological Society of America conference in Austin, TX. Jin Wen (Master’s student) presented his research on perceived control and cortisol stress reactivity.
UBC Faculty of Arts published a Q & A with Dr. Sin on positive experiences as buffers against the health impacts of stress.
October 21, 2019
Dr. Sin presented research on personality traits as predictors of daily positive events at the Society for the Study of Human Development conference in Portland, Oregon (Oct 2019).
September 27, 2019
October 1st is National Seniors Day in Canada! Dr. Sin will be giving a talk on well-being and healthy aging for the “Importance of Community on Health” event at the South Arm Community Centre in Richmond on Sept 28. The event will support Chimo Community Services.
August 12, 2019
Dr. Sin was awarded the 2019 Springer Early Career Achievement Award in Research on Adult Development and Aging from Division 20 of the American Psychological Association! Read about it here.
June 14, 2019
We were recently awarded a 4-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight grant to fund our research on the role of daily positive events in stress and coping. We also received a 2-year SSHRC Insight Development grant to support our work on positive well-being and aging!
May 9, 2019
Dr. Sin will present research findings about the role of daily positive events in stress appraisals at the Midlife in the United States Study (MIDUS) Meeting in Madison, WI (May 2019).
April 8, 2019
Superstar Kevin Chi has won the UBC Psi Chi Distinguished Undergraduate Research Award! Congrats, Kevin!
April 6, 2019
The UPLIFT Health Lab has been awarded infrastructure funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Read about it here: Funding to advance research on psychosocial well-being and healthy aging
March 31, 2019
Congrats to Honours student Jamile De Medeiros e Silva, who gave a fantastic presentation on sleep variability and affect at the UBC Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference!
March 24, 2019
Jin Wen presented his research on self-control and cortisol stress reactivity at the American Psychosomatic Society conference (March 2019). Dr. Sin gave a talk on emotional vulnerability to short sleep and long-term functional limitations, and she was a roundtable facilitator on the topic of “Data for the Masses” (thank you to the Emerging Leaders SIG!).
Jin’s poster in the Citation Poster Session at APS (pictured with Dr. Nancy Sin and Dr. Julia Boehm)
Symposium on Emotion regulation and variability in relation to daily stressors and health
From left: Lewina Lee, Nancy Sin, Claudia Trudel-Fitzgerald (Symposium Chair), and Rebecca Reed
(not pictured: our awesome discussant, Dr. Aric Prather)
February 10, 2019
Kevin Chi was awarded the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) Diversity Undergraduate Travel Award and the Robert and Kazuko Barker Award. He attended the SPSP conference in Portland to present his poster, “Daily prosocial behaviour and well-being among adults: Examination of day-to-day variations.” Congrats, Kevin!
December 9, 2018
Dr. Sin presented 2 talks at the GSA conference in Boston, entitled “Characterizing the co-occurrence of positive events and stressors in daily life” and “Daily positive events are associated with more favourable perceptions of same-day stressors.”
November 7, 2018
Congrats to Jin Wen, Kevin Chi, and Sonali Sharma on their recent presentations at the Canadian Association on Gerontology conference! Jin was winner of the CIHR Institute of Aging Student Poster Competition (Master’s Category)!
August 9, 2018
Dr. Sin gave a talk on “Coping with Stress in Daily Life” at the South Arm Community Centre as part of the Aging Consciously lecture series (8 Aug 2018). Thank you to everyone who attended and to Shannon at South Arm for inviting us!
July 6, 2018
Dr. Sin has been elected as Member-at-Large for the Executive Committee of the American Psychological Association’s Division on Adult Development and Aging. She will serve a 3-year term from 2018-2021.
March 12, 2018
Kevin Chi (4th Year Psychology student) has received the Quinn Research Assistantship Award, which will provide 4 months of summer funding to support Kevin’s research project on daily volunteering and health in midlife and older adults. Congratulations, Kevin!
March 5, 2018
Dr. Sin will be giving a talk entitled “Short Sleep Exacerbates Negative Emotional Responses to Daily Stressors: Evaluation of Bidirectional, Within-Person Associations” at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Louisville, KY (8 March 2018).
Our study on daily stress and heart rate variability was featured in the Washington Post (5 March 2018).
January 21, 2018
Dr. Sin gave a talk on “Small Actions to Promote Happiness and Healthy Aging” as part of the Aging Consciously lecture series at South Arm Community Centre in Richmond (17 Jan 2018). A big thanks to everyone who attended!
November 7, 2017
The latest newsletter for the Midlife in the United States Study describes findings from Dr. Sin’s studies on daily stress, positive events, and inflammation. Read the newsletter here to learn more about how inflammation interacts with psychosocial and behavioural factors to influence health.
September 3, 2017
The UPLIFT Health Lab is accepting applications for research assistants and graduate students. Please contact Dr. Sin for more details.
August 2, 2017
In a Q&A, Dr. Nancy Sin shares her research and what sparked her interest in studying psychosocial well-being, aging, and health.
First of all, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a health psychologist focused on understanding psychosocial well-being and biobehavioural mechanisms underlying healthy aging. I received my PhD in Social/Personality Psychology with an emphasis on Health Psychology from the University of California, Riverside. I subsequently completed postdoctoral research fellowships in the Division of Geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco and in the Center for Healthy Aging at The Pennsylvania State University. I was born and raised on the west coast (northern California), so Vancouver—the vibrant city, cultural diversity, outdoorsy lifestyle, and beautiful landscapes—already feels like home.
What kinds of questions do you try to answer through your research?
My primary research question is, “How do the ups and downs of day-to-day life influence long-term health and aging?” To answer this question, I examine physiological and behavioural pathways (such as inflammation, sleep, and physical activity) that may link daily experiences to chronic diseases and mortality. I am particularly interested in studying positive events in everyday life and whether they might buffer against the effects of stress.
Can you give us an example of this in our daily lives?
Minor stressors and positive events are common occurrences in daily life, especially in midlife when adults are juggling the demands of family and work responsibilities. In my research, participants have reported positive events such as spending time in nature, having a good conversation, receiving a compliment, and accomplishing a task at work or at home. Examples of stressful events in daily life are work deadlines, being stuck in traffic, having a disagreement or interpersonal tension, and experiencing discrimination or unfair treatment. I (and others) have found that positive events occur far more frequently than stressors among community-based, non-clinical samples of midlife and older adults.
How did you become interested in this line of research?
As one of my work-study jobs when I was an undergraduate at UCLA, I transcribed recordings of marriage therapy sessions. These couples had deeply entrenched problems in their relationships, yet I was most struck by the seeming lack of positive experiences. That job, along with my coursework and other research activities, sparked my interest in whether positive experiences could help alleviate depressive symptoms and counteract stress. I pursued this line of work in graduate school at UC Riverside, where the health psychology graduate courses opened up a whole new world for me that further developed my interests in psychosocial well-being, aging, and health.
Can you tell us about any new research that you are particularly excited about?
I am excited about tracking intraindividual fluctuations in functional and subjective health. In other words, why do we feel healthier and are better able to carry out daily activities on some days than on others? I am also excited about characterizing the processes surrounding daily positive events—that is, individual differences and contextual factors that predict exposure to positive events, as well as appraisals, physiological and emotional responses, and the lingering effects of positive events. My overarching goal is to identify aspects of day-to-day life that can be modified to promote health and well-being.
Do you have a motto?
I do not have a motto, but I believe that every endeavour worth pursuing requires a great deal of practice, persistence, and risk-taking. And, defeat and setbacks should not be interpreted as failure; rather, they are signs of progress towards success.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love spending time with friends, family, and my two dogs, Muffet and Luke. Because research projects can take years, I like to balance them out by doing creative activities in which I can produce something tangible right before my eyes, including knitting, crocheting, drawing, and cooking.
This Q&A was originally featured on the Department of Psychology’s website.