Less pessimistic outlook predicts lower stroke risk
People with low levels of pessimism are at reduced risk of having a stroke, according to a European study.
From a sample of 23,216 adults, aged 20 to 54 years, those in the lowest quartile of a pessimism scale had a 56% reduced incidence of stroke compared to those in the highest quintile, after seven years’ follow-up.
The researchers adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics, cardiovascular risk factors, depression and ischaemic heart disease, and found those with lower pessimism still had a 48% reduced risk of stroke.
“The precise mechanisms underlying the link between pessimism and stroke remain unclear,” the authors said. “Both behavioural (lifestyle) and biological (autonomic nervous system activity) mechanisms are plausible.”
Further studies should explore whether interventions to reduce pessimism would reduce stroke risk, they said.