Community-dwelling older adults (N = 272) ages 59-95 in the southern United States.
The Life Orientation Test-Revised and the Short Form 8.
At the bivariate level, optimism was associated with higher physical health and mental health, while pessimism was associated with lower physical health and mental health. Multiple-regression analyses as well as comparison of correlation coefficients found that pessimism was more closely associated with physical health and mental health than optimism.
These results add to the literature suggesting that, in terms of older adults' health and well-being, avoiding pessimism may be more important than being optimistic.