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BMJ Open. 2013 Jun 20;3(6). pii: e002397. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002397.

Confidence in the future, health-related behaviour and psychological distress: results from a web-based cross-sectional study of 101 257 Finns.

Author information

  • 1National Institute for Health and Welfare, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Helsinki, Finland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate the role of socioeconomic status and psychological stress to potential associations between confidence in the future and a wide range of health-related behaviours.

DESIGN:

Web-based cross-sectional study including an 'Electronic Health Check' at the Finnish Happiness-Flourishing Study website linked to a TV programme on happiness and depression.

SETTING:

The Finnish population with access to the internet.

PARTICIPANTS:

101 257 Finns aged 18 and above (21 365 men; 79 892 women). Participants who were under the age of 18 and who did not provide information about their gender were excluded.

PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURES:

As planned, we assessed smoking, weekly alcohol consumption and binge drinking, daily intake of fruits and vegetables and regular exercise.

RESULTS:

Compared with participants with low confidence in the future, those with high confidence were less likely to be daily smokers (men OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.65; women 0.57, 95% CI 0.53 to 0.61) and binge drinkers (men 0.57; 0.52 to 0.63; women 0.54; 0.50 to 0.57). Participants with high confidence in the future were more likely to exercise regularly (men OR 2.82, 95% CI 2.55 to 3.13; women 2.57, 95% CI 2.44 to 2.71) and consume vegetables (men OR 2.48, 95% CI 2.25 to 2.74; women 2.13, 95% CI 2.03 to 2.24) and fruits (men OR 2.09, 95% CI 1.86 to 2.35; women 1.83, 95% CI 1.74 to 1.93) daily. Adjustment for current psychological distress and satisfaction for income attenuated the results.

CONCLUSIONS:

Having confidence in the future is strongly associated with a healthy lifestyle, as assessed by a healthy diet, physical exercise and substance abuse. Health-related interventions may benefit from tailoring interventions according to the target population's level of confidence in the future as well as their level of psychological distress.

KEYWORDS:

PREVENTIVE MEDICINE; PUBLIC HEALTH

PMID:
23794550
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3686176
Free PMC Article

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