Prediction of All-Cause Mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale Scores: Study of a College Sample During a 40-Year Follow-up Period

Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States
Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Impact Factor: 6.26). 01/2007; 81(12):1541-4. DOI: 10.4065/81.12.1541
Source: PubMed


To examine a measure of explanatory style, the Optimism-Pessimism (PSM) scale derived from college-entry Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory scores, as a predictor of all-cause mortality.
A total of 7007 students entering the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill completed the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory during the mid-1960s. Of those students, 6958 had scores on the PSM scale and data for all-cause mortality through 2006. Scores on the PSM scale were evaluated as predictors of mortality using the Cox proportional hazards regression model, adjusted for sex. During the 40-year follow-up period, 476 deaths occurred.
Pessimistic individuals who scored in the upper tertile of the distribution had decreased rates of longevity (hazard ratio, 1.42; 95% confidence Interval, 1.13-1.77) compared with optimistic individuals who scored in the bottom tertile of the distribution.
In a model that adjusted only for sex, a measure of optimistic vs pessimistic explanatory style was a significant predictor of survival during a 40-year follow-up period such that optimists had Increased longevity.

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    • "Only one study to date has examined LTL in relation to pessimistic orientation (O'Donovan et al., 2009); other studies have linked pessimistic orientation to factors associated with telomere length, including increased risk of inflammation (O'Donovan et al., 2009), depression (Isaacowitz and Seligman, 2001), and premature mortality (Brummett et al., 2006). O'Donovan and colleagues (2009) suggested the association M a n u s c r i p t "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Recent research suggests pessimistic orientation is associated with shorter leukocyte telomere length (LTL). However, this is the first study to look not only at effects of pessimistic orientation on average LTL at multiple time points, but also at effects on the rate of change in LTL over time. Methods Participants were older men from the VA Normative Aging Study (n = 490). The Life Orientation Test (LOT) was used to measure optimistic and pessimistic orientations at study baseline, and relative LTL by telomere to single copy gene ratio (T:S ratio) was obtained repeatedly over the course of the study (1999-2008). A total of 1,010 observations were included in the analysis. Linear mixed effect models with a random subject intercept were used to estimate associations. Results Higher pessimistic orientation scores were associated with shorter average LTL (percent difference by 1-SD increase in pessimistic orientation (95% CI): -3.08 (-5.62, -0.46)), and the finding was maintained after adjusting for the higher likelihood that healthier individuals return for follow-up visits (-3.44 (-5.95,-0.86)). However, pessimistic orientation scores were not associated with rate of change in LTL over time. No associations were found between overall optimism and optimistic orientation subscale scores and LTL. Conclusion Higher pessimistic orientation scores were associated with shorter LTL in older men. While there was no evidence that pessimistic orientation was associated with rate of change in LTL over time, higher levels of pessimistic orientation were associated with shorter LTL at baseline and this association persisted over time.
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    • "In contrast to numerous investigations addressing adverse effects of negative mood on risks and outcomes of single diseases, fewer studies have focused on the possible benefits of positive life orientation in older populations. Some studies have shown that positive emotions in young adulthood reduce mortality risk decades later (Maruta et al., 2000; Danner et al., 2001; Brummett et al., 2006). An inverse association of dispositional optimism with all-cause cardiovascular mortality has been found in Netherlands (Giltay et al., 2004, 2006) and in the Women's Health Initiative Study (Tindle et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to investigate the value of life orientation as a screening tool and survival indicator in old age. A postal questionnaire answered by 2490 random older people (>75 years) included six questions concerning satisfaction with life, feeling needed, plans for future, zest for life, lack of feelings of depression and loneliness. The vital status was followed for 57 months. All-cause mortality rate was 19.1% and 30.3% among elderly with (22%) and without (78%) positive life orientation, respectively (p<0.001). The difference in mortality increased over time. After controlling for age, gender, and subjective health, the protective value of positive life orientation remained significant (hazard ratio, HR=0.78, 95%CI=0.63-0.98, p<0.03). Feeling needed was the strongest independent predictor (HR=0.72, p<0.001). A six-question life orientation identifies old people at risk. Positive life orientation predicts good survival prognosis independently of subjective health.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2011 · Archives of gerontology and geriatrics
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    • "Links between optimism and longevity have been documented in a range of populations. Optimism is associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality over 40 years in both college freshman [95] [96] and over 30 [97] and 40 [96] years in community midlife samples. Short-term (≤1 year) cancer mortality has also been linked to lower levels of optimism in younger patients with a diverse range of cancers [98], and in head and neck cancer patients [99]. "
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    ABSTRACT: We review evidence for links between personality traits and longevity. We provide an overview of personality for health scientists, using the primary organizing framework used in the study of personality and longevity. We then review data on various aspects of personality linked to longevity. In general, there is good evidence that higher level of conscientiousness and lower levels of hostility and Type D or "distressed" personality are associated with greater longevity. Limited evidence suggests that extraversion, openness, perceived control, and low levels of emotional suppression may be associated with longer lifespan. Findings regarding neuroticism are mixed, supporting the notion that many component(s) of neuroticism detract from life expectancy, but some components at some levels may be healthy or protective. Overall, evidence suggests various personality traits are significant predictors of longevity and points to several promising directions for further study. We conclude by discussing the implications of these links for epidemiologic research and personalized medicine and lay out a translational research agenda for integrating the psychology of individual differences into public health and medicine.
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