Optimism and cardiovascular disease

High optimism low CVD mortality

Optimism was a relatively stable trait over 15 years in the Zutphen Elderly Study. Elderly men with a high level of optimism had only half the risk of 15-year CVD mortality compared to those with a low level of optimism. Similar results were obtained after adjustment for CVD risk factors, lifestyle factors, living arrangements, self-rated health and depressive symptoms.


Optimism was not related to major cardiovascular risk factors. However, a high level of optimism was associated with better coping behavior, goal-directed efforts such as better self-care, vitality, emotional flexibility and seeking social support. Optimism was also related to physical activity, non-smoking, moderate alcohol intake and higher intakes of fruit, vegetables and whole-grain bread. This suggests that a high level of optimism affects the risk of cardiovascular death through positive psycho-social behaviors, more healthy lifestyle and dietary habits.

More about healthy aging

From 1984 onwards, additional studies started to examine indicators of healthy ageing in the elderly populations of in the SCS and related studies.

Disability and depressive symptoms

In elderly men from Finland, Italy and the Nethelands in the FINE Study, self-reported information on disability and depressive symptoms was collected in 1990 and 1995.