Pessimists Are at Higher Risk of Early Death
People who are pessimistic die earlier than those who don't have overtly negative or positive views, a new study suggests. Researchers found that those with negative outlooks about the presents or future died about two years earlier than the average person, The Daily Mail reported.
However, and rather surprisingly, being particularly optimistic was not found to increase life expectancy. The team, from Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane, Australia, says it believes pessimists likely do not look after themselves as well, resulting in their health declining sooner than the health of others.
For the study, published in the journal Nature, the team looked at a questionnaire of around 3,000 participants aged 50 or older. The questionnaire was part of the Life Orientation Test, which looked at the health of Australians between 1993 and 1995 with follow-up information only available through the end of 2009. Participants were given a score on an optimism-pessimism scale based on how much they agreed or disagreed with optimistic and pessimistic statements. According to The German News Agency, the study found that pessimists were more likely to die earlier from cardiovascular disease and other causes of death, but not cancer.
"People who are pessimistic might be thought to not look after themselves and their health as well. They might think there's no point in following advice about diet and exercise and so on," the study lead author John Whitfield told ABC Australia. "There are indications that optimistic and pessimistic attitudes can have effects on brain and blood biochemistry, inflammation perhaps on the arterial wall," he explained.