18.05.20 Hope & Your Health

May 22, 2018
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New study explores whether or not optimistic people live longer.


“We find, indeed, that to be the case.’

Researchers Kelsey J. O’Connor & Carol Graham, Brookings Institution in their conclusion that hope impacts longevity.


Study: Highlights

Women: “on average happier and more optimistic’ (researchers looking at recent readings of “optimism” vs. what women felt in comparison data from 1968-75).

Those with less than a high school education (especially white Americans) suffered from greater declines in optimism over the years (and higher mortality rates).


  • Does optimism lead one to pursue better quality of life? i.e. pursuing better health, jobs, education = longer lives.
  • TBD. Researchers found optimism fluctuated and longevity seemed impacted as well by $$ or education.
  • Past Study: Some researchers believe our physiology is healthier when we are more hopeful.

Education may not *just* impact optimism, but also employment. The U.S. unemployment rate for those without a high school diploma is nearly 6%. With a college degree? 1.9% (U.S. unemployment rate: 3.9%).

  • LONGER, MORE OPTIMISTIC LIVES: HISTORIC OPTIMISM AND LIFE EXPECTANCY IN THE UNITED STATES: [https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/working-paper-117optimism-and-life-expectancyoconnorgraham.pdf](https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/working-paper-117optimism-and-life-expectancyoconnorgraham.pdf)
  • Unemployment according to education:A https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t04.htm
  • FUN READ: STUDY FROM 2016A Optimism is linked with lower inflammation and healthier biomarker levels andA lipid levels, so there could be an independent effect on optimism.”A https://www.cbsnews.com/news/optimism-may-help-you-live-longer/

by Jenna Lee,