Effects of optimism, pessimism, and trait anxiety on ambulatory blood pressure and mood during everyday life

Department of Psychology, University of Helsinki, Finland.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 02/1999; 76(1):104-13. DOI: 10.1037//0022-3514.76.1.104
Source: PubMed


This study tested whether dispositional measures of optimism, pessimism, and anxiety affected ambulatory blood pressure (BP) and mood and whether any cardiovascular effects of dispositions were moderated by mood. Pessimistic and anxious adults had higher BP levels and felt more negative and less positive than did optimists or low anxious adults throughout the monitoring. The few times that optimists did feel negative were associated with levels of BP as high as those observed among pessimists or anxious individuals, regardless of their mood. To the extent that trait anxiety measures neuroticism, these findings suggest that neuroticism is directly related to health indicators rather than simply to illness behavior. Furthermore, the results suggest that pessimism has broad physiological and psychological consequences.

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Available from: Janine D Flory, Jan 07, 2014
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    • "Nevertheless, in the last decades several authors reported results supporting the hypothesis that Optimism and Pessimism are two distinct constructs with different patterns of correlations with other psychological constructs [64–70]. Recently, similar results have been found for the BHS: in a sample of medical patients, a bifactor model was the best-fitting solution and the most parsimonious among models evaluated [71]. "
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    • "Positive affect is defined as feelings that reflect a state of high energy, full concentration and a level of pleasurable engagement with the environment, such as joy, happiness and contentment (Cohen and Pressman, 2006). Positive affect can confer benefit to individuals beyond the feeling of well-being, given that it has been associated with an overall prolonged healthy life expectancy (Chida and Steptoe, 2008; Steptoe et al., 2007), reduced blood pressure (Brummett et al., 2009; Raikkonen et al., 1999; Steptoe et al., 2007), a higher heart rate variability (Bhattacharyya et al., 2008) and a reduced risk for stroke, coronary heart disease (Kubzansky and Thurston, 2007) and hypertension (Pelle et al., 2011; Steptoe et al., 2007). The mechanisms responsible for the link between positive affect and improved health ought to be found in behavioral and biological pathways such as a healthy lifestyle and inflammation (Dockray and Steptoe, 2010). "
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