Left Menu
Development News Edition

Study reveals pessimistic outlook on life linked to life expectancy

A pessimistic attitude towards life may put you at a greater risk of dying earlier, suggests a new study. The new QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute study has found that people who are strongly pessimistic about the future are at greater risk of dying earlier than those who are not.

ANI | Washington DC | Updated: 02-08-2020 13:50 IST | Created: 02-08-2020 12:56 IST
Study reveals pessimistic outlook on life linked to life expectancy
Representative image.. Image Credit: ANI

A pessimistic attitude towards life may put you at a greater risk of dying earlier, suggests a new study. The new QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute study has found that people who are strongly pessimistic about the future are at greater risk of dying earlier than those who are not. The researchers also found, however, that being an optimist did not extend life expectancy.The lead researcher, Dr John Whitfield from QIMR Berghofer's Genetic Epidemiology group, said study participants who scored higher on pessimism in a questionnaire were likely to die on average two years earlier than those with low scores.

"We found people who were strongly pessimistic about the future were more likely to die earlier from cardiovascular diseases and other causes of death, but not from cancer. Optimism scores, on the other hand, did not show a significant relationship with death, either positive or negative," Dr Whitfield said."Less than nine per cent of respondents identified as being strongly pessimistic. There were no significant differences in optimism or pessimism between men and women. On average, an individual's level of either optimism or pessimism increased with age. We also found depression did not appear to account for the association between pessimism and mortality," added Dr Whitfield added. The researchers used data collected from almost 3,000 participants who completed the Life Orientation Test as part of a broader questionnaire that looked at the health of Australians aged over 50 between 1993 and 1995.The participants were invited to agree or disagree with a number of statements including positive statements such as, 'I'm always optimistic about my future' or negative statements such as, 'If something can go wrong for me, it will'.

The participants' details were then cross-checked with the Australian National Death Index in October 2017 to find out how many people had died and their cause of death. (More than 1,000 participants had died.)Previous studies have shown a correlation between optimism and pessimism and specific diseases such as cardiovascular disease or stroke, but most previous studies also put optimism and pessimism on one scale.This resulted in people who received low scores on the pessimism questions being classed as optimists, but Dr Whitfield said that was not always an accurate reflection of people's outlooks. "Optimism and pessimism are not direct opposites. The key feature of our results is that we used two separate scales to measure pessimism and optimism and their association with all causes of death. That is how we discovered that while strong pessimism was linked with earlier death, those who scored highly on the optimism scale did not have a greater than average life expectancy," Dr Whitfield said.

"We think it's unlikely that the disease caused the pessimism because we did not find that people who died from cancer had registered a strong pessimism score in their tests. If the illness was leading to higher pessimism scores, it should have applied to cancers as well as to cardiovascular disease," added Dr Whitfield added. Dr Whitfield said the research findings raised questions about the practical health benefits of training people out of pessimism."Understanding that our long term health can be influenced by whether we're a cup-half-full or cup-half-empty kind of person might be the prompt we need to try to change the way we face the world, and try to reduce negativity, even in really difficult circumstances," said Dr Whitfield.

The study findings have been published in the journal Scientific Reports. (ANI)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

3D printing and the future of manufacturing post COVID-19

The on-demand, customizable, and localized manufacturing of product components facilitated by 3D printing has the potential to redefine manufacturing but there are certain technical, mechanical, and legal limitations that, unless ...

How UK’s 'best prepared' healthcare system failed to gauge COVID-19

The UK is proud of their public health system and its unlike any other country as around 90 percent of British public supports the founding principles of National Health Service. But without accurate data being available to stakeholders in ...

Poor on IHR capacity progress in 2019, WHO says Cambodia tops COVID-19 response

Despite being in proximity to Hubei, the original epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic, Cambodia has reported just 226 confirmed cases and zero deaths. After seeing the data, WHO appreciated Cambodias healthcare information system but experts dou...

Loopholes in Healthcare Information System may have failed Singapore COVID-19 model

In the initial days of the COVID-19 outbreak, Singapore was in the limelight for its effective healthcare system and pandemic response plan. However, Singapore has now joined the list of the worst-hit nations and the situation is even worse...

Videos

Latest News

Macron says aid to blast-stricken Lebanon will not go to 'corrupt hands'

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday promised aid to Lebanon but reassured angry citizens reeling from a lethal blast that killed 145 people that no blank cheques will be given to its leaders unless they enact reforms and end rife c...

White House, Democrats at odds over cost of coronavirus aid bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday the U.S. economy needs an additional boost to cope with fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, as Republicans and Democrats remained far apart about what to include in another wave of ...

Africa's cases of COVID-19 top 1 million -Reuters tally

Africas confirmed cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 1 million, a Reuters tally showed on Thursday, as the disease began to spread rapidly through a continent whose relative isolation has so far spared it the worst of the pandemic. The contin...

Pentagon chief expresses concern to Chinese counterpart about Beijing's activity in South China Sea

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed concerns about Beijings destabilizing activity near Taiwan and the South China Sea in a call with Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, the Pentagon said on Thursday, the first time the two are bel...

Give Feedback