Older women who look on the bright side of life were less likely to die in the next several years than their peers who weren’t as positive about the future.
The research, published Wednesday in the American Journal of Epidemiology, is the latest to find an association between a positive sense of well-being and better health, though it’s not yet clear whether one causes the other.
Optimism could conceivably lead to improved health outcomes through several mechanisms, says Eric Kim, an author of the study and research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. First, people who are more optimistic also tend to have healthier behaviors when it comes to diet, exercise and tobacco use. But the study shows that the relationship persists even when those behaviors are controlled for, suggesting something else is also going on.
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