The hypothesis that optimism is associated with a healthier lipid profile was tested. The participants were 990 mostly white men and women from the Midlife in the United States study, who were, on average, 55 years old. Models examined the cross-sectional association between optimism and lipid levels, accounting for education and health status (e.g., chronic medical conditions).
After adjustment the results suggested that greater optimism was associated with greater HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides. Optimism was not associated with low-density lipoprotein or total cholesterol. The findings were robust to a variety of modeling strategies including the effect of cholesterol treatment. The results also indicated that diet and body mass index might link optimism with lipids.
This is the first study to suggest that optimism is associated with a healthy lipid profile; moreover, these associations can be explained, in part, by the presence of healthier behaviors and a lower body mass index.