A team of researchers found that participants who scored higher on a pessimism scale were likely to die an average of two years earlier than those with low scores. They found that those who scored higher on pessimism were more likely to develop and die from cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases, but not cancer.
The researchers collected data from more than 3,000 participants who completed the Life Orientation Test that examined the health of Australians aged over 50 between 1993 and 1995. The data were then cross-checked with the Australian National Death Index in October 2017 to find out how many people had died and their cause of their death. The studies revealed a strong correlation between pessimism and earlier death. Interestingly, they did not find that being an optimist was protective.