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Mayo Clin Proc. 2000 Feb;75(2):140-3.

Optimists vs pessimists: survival rate among medical patients over a 30-year period.

Author information

1
Division of Adult Psychiatry, Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN 55905, USA.

Erratum in

  • Mayo Clin Proc 2000 Mar;75(3):318.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine explanatory style (how people explain life events) as a risk factor for early death, using scores from the Optimism-Pessimism scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI).

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

A total of 839 patients completed the MMPI between 1962 and 1965 as self-referred general medical patients. Thirty years later, the vital status of each of these patients was ascertained.

RESULTS:

Of the 839 patients, 124 were classified as optimistic, 518 as mixed, and 197 as pessimistic. Follow-up was available for 723 patients. Among these, a 10-point T-score increase on the Optimism-Pessimism scale (e.g., more pessimistic) was associated with a 19% increase in the risk of mortality.

CONCLUSION:

A pessimistic explanatory style, as measured by the Optimism-Pessimism scale of the MMPI, is significantly associated with mortality.

Comment in

PMID:
10683651
DOI:
10.4065/75.2.140
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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