New research suggests optimism is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality, with the authors suggesting that promotion of optimism and reduction in pessimism may be important for preventive health.
Researchers conducted a meta-analysis and systematic review of studies investigating the association between optimism and pessimism and cardiovascular events and/or all-cause mortality. The meta-analysis included 15 studies with 229,391 participants.
Pooled analysis showed optimism was significantly associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular events (relative risk [RR] 0.65; 95% CI 0.51-0.78; P<.001 and all-cause mortality ci p>
“The findings of this meta-analysis appear to support establishment of interventions that might diminish pessimism and promote optimism among clinical patients,” the authors said in JAMA Network Open. They noted that various studies have reported that pessimism can be reduced and optimism enhanced through the use of cognitive behavioural therapy and positive psychological techniques, “making these techniques potentially suitable for use in cardiac rehabilitation programmes and other group settings."
The authors concluded that future studies “should seek to better define the biobehavioural mechanisms underlying this association and evaluate the potential benefit of interventions designed to promote optimism or reduce pessimism."