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Prediction of All-Cause Mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale Scores: Study of a College Sample During a 40-Year Follow-up Period

      OBJECTIVE

      To examine a measure of explanatory style, the Optimism-Pessimism (PSM) scale derived from college-entry Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory scores, as a predictor of all-cause mortality.

      SUBJECTS AND METHODS

      A total of 7007 students entering the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill completed the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory during the mid-1960s. Of those students, 6958 had scores on the PSM scale and data for all-cause mortality through 2006. Scores on the PSM scale were evaluated as predictors of mortality using the Cox proportional hazards regression model, adjusted for sex. During the 40-year follow-up period, 476 deaths occurred.

      RESULTS

      Pessimistic individuals who scored in the upper tertile of the distribution had decreased rates of longevity (hazard ratio, 1.42; 95% confidence interval, 1.13-1.77) compared with optimistic individuals who scored in the bottom tertile of the distribution.

      CONCLUSION

      In a model that adjusted only for sex, a measure of optimistic vs pessimistic explanatory style was a significant predictor of survival during a 40-year follow-up period such that optimists had increased longevity.
      CI (confidence interval), HR (hazard ratio), MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory), PSM (Optimism-Pessimism), UNCAHS (University of North Carolina Alumni Heart Study)
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