Individuals with higher levels of optimism are more likely to live longer compared to pessimistic people, reaching the age of 85 or older. This finding is a result of a 30 year old study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Although most research on exceptionally long life spans has been focused on biological factors, this study and other recent work suggest that nongenetic factors and psychosocial assets, such as optimism, can also contribute to reaching very old age. Optimism refers to a general expectation that good things will happen, or believing that the future will be favorable because we can control important outcomes.
The study was based on more than 70,000 participants from NHS (Nurses’ Health Study) and NAS (Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study) pool sample. Over the course of 10 and 30 years, the women and men answered questions about their overall health and sociodemographics, lifestyle habits such as smoking, eating and drinking, and finally, questions regarding an optimistic outlook on life.
Excerpted from PsyPost