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Association of dispositional optimism with Life’s Simple 7’s Cardiovascular Health Index: results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) Sociocultural Ancillary Study (SCAS)
  1. Rosalba Hernandez1,
  2. Hector M González2,
  3. Wassim Tarraf3,
  4. Judith T Moskowitz4,
  5. Mercedes R Carnethon5,
  6. Linda C Gallo6,
  7. Frank J Penedo4,
  8. Carmen R Isasi7,
  9. John Manuel Ruiz8,
  10. William Arguelles9,10,
  11. Christina Buelna11,
  12. Sonia Davis12,
  13. Franklyn Gonzalez12,
  14. Jessica L McCurley13,
  15. Donghong Wu14,
  16. Martha L Daviglus5,14
  1. 1 School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA
  2. 2 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA
  3. 3 Department of Healthcare Sciences, Institute of Gerontology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA
  4. 4 Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  5. 5 Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  6. 6 Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA
  7. 7 Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA
  8. 8 Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
  9. 9 Center for Research, Baptist Health South Florida, Coral Gables, Florida, USA
  10. 10 Department of Psychology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, USA
  11. 11 Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Southwestern College, Chula Vista, California, USA
  12. 12 Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  13. 13 Department of Clinical Psychology, San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego, California, USA
  14. 14 Institute for Minority Health Research, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rosalba Hernandez; rherna17{at}


Objectives Mounting evidence links positive psychological functioning to restorative health processes and favourable medical outcomes. However, very little is known about the relationship between optimism, an indicator of psychological functioning and the American Heart Association (AHA)-defined concept of cardiovascular health (CVH), particularly in Hispanics/Latinos of diverse backgrounds. To address limitations of existing literature, this study investigated the association between dispositional optimism and CVH in a heterogeneous sample of Hispanics/Latinos residing in the USA.

Design Cross-sectional study.

Participants and setting Data were analysed from 4919 adults ages 18–75 of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos parent study and the Sociocultural Ancillary Study.

Main outcome measures Optimism was assessed using the 6-item Life Orientation Test-Revised (range from 6 to 30). AHA classification standards were used to derive an additive CVH score with operationalisation of indicators as Ideal, Intermediate and Poor. The overall CVH score included indicators of diet, body mass index, physical activity, cholesterol, blood pressure, fasting glucose and smoking status. Multivariate linear and logistic regressions were used to examine associations of optimism with CVH (Life’s Simple 7), after adjusting for sociodemographic factors and depressive symptoms.

Results Each increase in the optimism total score was associated with a greater CVH score (β=0.03 per unit increase, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.05). When modelling tertiles of optimism, participants with moderate (β=0.24 to 95% CI 0.06 to 0.42) and high (β=0.12, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.24) levels of optimism displayed greater CVH scores when compared with their least optimistic peers.

Conclusion This study offers preliminary evidence for an association between optimism and CVH in a large heterogeneous group of Hispanic/Latino adults. Our study adds scientific knowledge of psychological assets that may promote CVH and suggests a novel therapeutic target for consideration. Future studies are needed to explore causality and potential mechanism underlying the relationship between positive emotion and heart health.

  • mental health
  • coronary heart disease
  • epidemiology

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  • Contributors DW and RH researched data. HMG, WT, JTM, MRC, LCG, FJP, CRI, JMR, WA, CB, SD, FG and JLM reviewed/edited the full manuscript. MLD researched data, contributed to discussion and extensively reviewed/edited the manuscript. RH wrote the manuscript.

  • Funding This study was funded by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (1K01HL130712, N01-HC65233, N01-HC65234, N01-HC65235, N01-HC65236, N01-HC65237).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval IRB at each collaborating institution.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned, externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The data and computer code used for this analysis reside at UNC Chapel Hill. The HCHS/SOL fully supports data sharing with outside investigators through processes internal to the study, based on a Data and Materials Distribution Agreement (DMDA) to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the HCHS/SOL participants and their families. Alternatively, deidentified HCHS/SOL data are publically available at BioLINCC and dbGaP for the subset of the study cohort that authorised general use of their data at the time of informed consent.

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