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16-01-2020 | Uitgave 5/2020

Journal of Behavioral Medicine 5/2020

A multimethod approach examining the relative contributions of optimism and pessimism to cardiovascular disease risk markers

Journal of Behavioral Medicine > Uitgave 5/2020
John M. Felt, Michael A. Russell, John M. Ruiz, Jillian A. Johnson, Bert N. Uchino, Matthew Allison, Timothy W. Smith, Daniel J. Taylor, Chul Ahn, Joshua Smyth
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10865-020-00133-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Although dispositional optimism and pessimism are associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD), their relative independence and unique contributions to CVD risk are unclear. This study addressed these issues by using multiple indicators of optimism and pessimism and linking them to objective risk factors for CVD. A diverse sample of adults (N = 300) completed baseline assessments (including global reports of optimism and pessimism), a 2-day/1-night EMA protocol with ambulatory blood pressure (BP) at 45-min intervals, and had inflammatory markers and carotid intima media imaging collected. EMA reports of momentary positive and negative expectations were averaged to form intraindividual (person) means of optimism and pessimism, respectively. Optimism and pessimism were only modestly correlated between- and within-assessment methods. Higher pessimism, regardless of assessment method, predicted both lower odds of whether BP dipping occurred and a smaller degree of dipping, but was unrelated to other biomarkers. Optimism was not uniquely predictive of CVD risk factors. Pessimism thus appears to exhibit stronger relative contribution to risk indicators of CVD than optimism.

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