Study: Optimism may lower risk of heart stroke
In an observational study, a nationally representative group of 6,044 adults over age 50 rated their optimism levels on a 16-point scale. Each point increase in optimism corresponded to a 9 percent decrease in acute stroke risk over a two-year follow-up period.
â€œOur work suggests that people who expect the best things in life actively take steps to promote health,â€ said Eric Kim, study lead author and a clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Michigan.
Apart from correlation between optimism and stroke, the study results show that healthy eating habits besides exercise and positive attitude will lower heart strokes. Previous research has shown that low pessimism and temporary positive emotions are linked to lower stroke risk.
Researchers analyzed self-reported stroke and psychological data from the ongoing Health and Retirement Study, collected between 2006 and 2008. Participants were stroke-free at the beginning of the study.
Researchers measured optimism levels with the modified Life Orientation Test-Revised, a widely used assessment tool in which participants rank their responses on a numeric scale.
The team used logistic regression analysis to establish the association between optimism and stroke and adjusted for factors that might affect stroke risk, including chronic illness, self-reported health and sociodemographic, behavioral, biological and psychological conditions.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundationâ€™s Pioneer Portfolio funded a part of the study through the Positive Psychology Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
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