Those who have an optimistic basic outlook on life are more likely to become more than 90 years old, according to a study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the USA.
The study started in the 1990s when researchers began observing 160,000 American women aged 50-79. The participants had to answer questions showing how optimistic they were and the researchers have now analyzed the results.
The 25 percent who were the most optimistic lived on average 5.4 percent longer than those who were the least optimistic. There were also ten percent more optimists who became more than 90 years old. So optimism not only makes you happier but also more long-lived.
The study is a continuation of a study where the first results were published last year. The novel thing about this study is that the researchers looked more closely at whether different ethnicities are affected differently by being optimistic.
The participants in this study represented a cross-section of the American population in terms of ethnicity, and the researchers could not notice any difference between different population groups in terms of the benefit of being optimistic.
- Although optimism itself can be influenced by social structures such as ethnicity, our study shows that the benefits of being optimistic are equally as large for all groups, says Hayami Koga, a researcher at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in a press release.
The researchers hope that their study will show that it can be beneficial to look at health in a larger context.
- We tend to focus on the negative risks that affect our health. But it is also important to think about the positive resources we have, such as optimism, which can be beneficial to health. Especially as we can see those benefits for all ethnic groups, says Hayami Koga.