Here's today's feel-good story:
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has compiled research that shows that higher optimism is associated with a longer lifespan for women across racial and ethnic groups.
“Although optimism itself may be affected by social structural factors, such as race and ethnicity, our research suggests that the benefits of optimism may hold across diverse groups,” said PhD candidate in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard Chan School and lead author of the study, Hayami Koga. “A lot of previous work has focused on deficits or risk factors that increase the risks for diseases and premature death. Our findings suggest that there’s value to focusing on positive psychological factors, like optimism, as possible new ways of promoting longevity and healthy aging across diverse groups.”
A longer lifespan and expected longevity is defined as living past 85 years of age. The previous study only looked at mostly white populations. The updated study broadened the participant pool for more accurate results.
“We tend to focus on the negative risk factors that affect our health,” said Koga. “It is also important to think about the positive resources such as optimism that may be beneficial to our health, especially if we see that these benefits are seen across racial and ethnic groups.”