Health and well-being consequences of optimism across 25 years in the Rochester Adult Longitudinal Study

Jeewon Oh, Mariah F. Purol, Rebekka Weidmann, William J. Chopik, Eric S. Kim, Erica Baranski, Ted Schwaba, Jennifer Lodi-Smith, Susan K. Whitbourne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

How does optimism change over the lifespan and how do changes predict health and well-being? In a pre-registered analysis of the Rochester Adult Longitudinal Study, we examined changes in and outcomes of optimism over 25 years (1989–2014) in 984 adults aged 16–70. Optimism increased over time similarly across participants. However, more optimistic participants at baseline reported engaging in healthier behaviors, better health, higher life satisfaction, and higher purpose in life 25 years later. Disaggregating health behaviors, we found that health-behavior-effects were specific to physical activity and abstaining from harmful substances/food. Because participants increased in optimism at similar rates, more work is needed to examine whether changes in optimism predict outcomes, and what factors account for the homogenous change observed here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104237
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Volume99
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Health
  • Lifespan development
  • Optimism
  • Rochester Adult Longitudinal Study
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • General Psychology

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