Optimism and depressive symptoms

Optimism associated with a lower risk of depression

In the Zutphen Elderly Study, a high level of optimism in 1985 was associated with a 77% lower risk of depressive symptoms in either 1990, 1995 or 2000. Men free of depressive symptoms in 1990 had a 63% lower cumulative 10-year incidence of depressive symptoms. These results suggest that optimistic elderly men are at a lower risk to develop depressive symptoms.

Measuring optimism and depression

Dispositional optimism was assessed with a 4-item questionnaire of the Central Bureau of Statistics in The Netherlands and depressive symptoms with the 20-items validated Zung self-rating depression scale.

About the Zutphen Elderly Study

The Zutphen Elderly Study is an extension of the original Zutphen Study with a sample of the same age where detailed information on the diet of all the participants was collected four times between 1985 and 2000.  Read more about the Zutphen (Elderly) Study.

More about mental health, cognitive decline & depression

Lifestyle, diet and optimism

A healthy diet, especially eating more fruit, vegetables, and whole grain bread was related to a higher level of optimism.

Nutrient intake and depressive symptoms

The results suggest that in contrast to the intake of B-vitamins, a high intake of the fish fatty acids EPA-DHA was associated with a low risk of depressive symptoms.