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Study: Optimistic Women Live Healthier Lives

August 11th 2009

Women who are optimistic have a lower probability of developing heart disease than negatively minded women.
By Anelise Qumerais

Women who are optimistic have a lower probability of developing heart disease than negatively minded women, according to a new study.

Researchers also noted that women with high levels of cynical hostility have a higher risk of dying in general, according to the study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

“The majority of evidence suggests that sustained, high degrees of negativity are hazardous to health,” said Hillary A. Tindle, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and lead author of the study, according to Asian News International.

Researchers examined more than 97,000 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 79. Using the “Life Orientation Test Revised Questionnaire” to measure optimism and negativity, the researchers found that optimistic women had a 9 percent lower risk of developing heart disease than negative women. And optimistic women had a 14 percent lower risk of dying from an array of causes compared to women with sustained levels of cynical hostility.

Optimistic women, the scientists noted, were less likely to have high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol and diabetes, among other symptoms.

“This study is a very reasonable stepping stone to future research in this area—both on potential mechanisms of how attitudes may affect health, and for randomized controlled trials to examine if attitudes can be changed to improve health,” said Tindle, according to a ScienceDaily report.