Ongoing Research

Justin Pasquariello

Collaboration with the East Boston Social Centers

As part of Center Director Viswanath’s initiative to promote community well-being and health equity, the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness has begun working with the East Boston Social Centers (EBSCs). The EBSCs were founded more than a hundred years ago to welcome and support immigrant families in East Boston through early education programming and public health and social services. Under the leadership of Executive Director Justin Pasquariello, the EBSCs started a campaign to promote community joy, which in turn sparked a partnership with the Lee Kum Sheung Center. Now, Center Research Assistant and HSPH MPH graduate Elaine Jeon is working with the EBSCs to evaluate joy among East Boston residents.

The HappyB2.0 Project

The HappyB2.0 project is the continuation of the HappyB project in the US context. The project is funded by the National Institutes of Health and directed by the Research Associate Dr. Laura Marciano (Principal Investigator), in collaboration with Center Director Dr. K. “Vish” Viswanath (Co-Investigator) and Dr. Nathaniel Osgood (Co-Investigator). The proposed research will quantify how in-person interactions and social media communication uniquely contribute to the experience of adolescents’ loneliness and mental health (including the experience of happiness and thriving) in the short- and long- term. The research will consider individual and contextual factors and employ a mixed-method design informed by biomarkers. We hope the results will positively impact policymaking and guide the implementation of effective, low-cost interventions and early education programs to improve adolescent well-being and resilience. Data will be collected from approximately 360 teens living in Boston. Data collection will be conducted in collaboration with Boston high schools through the Education Development Center (EDC) and at the Roxbury Tenants of Harvard.
Happy B Project

The HappyB Project

The HappyB Project, which was created by Center Research Associate Dr. Laura Marciano, investigated how digital media use, particularly smartphone and social media use, is linked to youth well-being over time. This project included two longitudinal studies which followed approximately 1,600 students from four high schools in the Ticino region of Switzerland. Data was collected through the use of the Ethica app. The project, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, started in January 2022 and concluded in January 2024. Study results showed significant gender differences: boys reported higher well-being than girls, while non-binary teens experienced the lowest well-being levels. The study also found that the impact of social media use on well-being depends on how it is used. Negative aspects such as social comparison and problematic use were consistently linked to lower well-being. The findings underscore the need for multidimensional, research-based interventions to enhance the well-being of young people in the digital age. (See full report here).
Salaam Bombay Foundation

Collaboration with the Salaam Bombay Foundation

Center Director Viswanath is collaborating with the Salaam Bombay Foundation (SBF) to conduct a longitudinal study to track students over time, following them through their school years and beyond to determine how exposure to SBF programming and other life events impact their health and well-being. The purpose of the SBF longitudinal study is twofold: 1) to gather valuable data on the health communication behaviors, availability of assets, and resilience of youth to determine how these factors are associated with health and well-being, and 2) to directly chart how SBF programs impact outcomes for students who attended SBF-sponsored schools compared to those who did not.
Lee Kum Kee

Case Study: Lee Kum Kee Company

Director Viswanath is working on an in-depth case study of the Lee Kum Kee company to determine how the company’s philosophy of “Si Ji Li Ren,” which roughly translates to “consider others’ interests before acting,” is operationalized and followed in practice. The case study will be used to teach students, providing an illustration of how the workplace could be a site for promoting well-being and happiness.