Optimistic women are 12 per cent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, researchers have discovered.
It has been shown that aspects such as stress and depression are linked with higher risks of type 2 diabetes but less is well known on how attitudes and personality traits may affect diabetes risk.
A team from the School of Public Health at Indiana University in Bloomington wanted to change that, so they collected health data from more than 139,000 postmenopausal women.
At the beginning of the trial, none of the females taking part had type 2 diabetes, whereas at the 14-year follow-up, 19,240 women had been diagnosed with the condition.
The researchers investigated further by dividing the women up into different groups relating to certain personality traits they had.
Juhua Luo, Ph.D., from the School of Public Health at Indiana University in Bloomingto, said: “Low optimism and high [negativity] and hostility were associated with increased risk of incident diabetes among postmenopausal women, independent of major health behaviours and depressive symptoms.”
Not only did the researchers find those who had a positive outlook were 12 per cent less likely to develop diabetes, they discovered those who expressed a negative attitude were nine per cent more likely to be given a diagnosis. The risk went up to 17 per cent among those who were in the highest group of hostility.
Dr JoAnn Pinkerto, the executive director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), said: “Personality traits remain stable across one’s lifetime; therefore, women at higher risk for diabetes who have low optimism, high negativity, and hostility could have prevention strategies tailored to their personality types.
“In addition to using personality traits to help us identify women at higher risk for developing diabetes, more individualised education and treatment strategies also should be used.”
The findings have been published in the journal, Menopause.

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