Optimism Linked to Reduced Risk of Stroke in Older Adults

Each unit increase in optimism is associated with age-adjusted odds ratio of 0.90 for stroke

TUESDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- Increased optimism is associated with a decreased risk of stroke in older adults, even after adjusting for sociodemographic, behavioral, biological, and psychological stroke risk factors, according to a study published online July 21 in Stroke.

Eric S. Kim, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues investigated the associations between dispositional optimism and stroke incidence in a nationally representative group from a Health and Retirement Study. A total of 6,044 adults (2,542 men and 3,502 women), aged 50 years and older, who were stroke-free at baseline were included in the analysis, which was adjusted for chronic illnesses; self-rated health; and relevant sociodemographic, behavioral, biological, and psychological factors. The participants were followed up for two years.

The investigators found that adults with higher optimism had a lower risk of stroke. When optimism was measured on a scale from three to 18, each unit increase in optimism was associated with an age-adjusted odds ratio of 0.90 for stroke. Even after adjustments for sociodemographic, behavioral, biological, and psychological stroke risk factors, the effect of optimism remained significant.

"Dispositional optimism was associated with a reduced risk of stroke in a prospective and nationally representative sample of American adults, aged >50 years, who were stroke-free at baseline," the authors write.

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