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Optimism, Ageing and Frailty: Interesting Italian Research

I read an interesting paper entitled, "The other side of the coin: Dispositional optimism, frailty, and negative life events in aging" by Maria Quattropani, Alberto Sardella and Giorgio Basile.

They conclude, "Reinforcing dispositional optimism, as a factor of resilience, should also be a target of specialized psychological clinical intervention for older adults, with the purpose to improve their adaptation to age-related medical conditions, as well as to adverse life events."

In other words, let's foster optimism in the aged as we should do for the entire population.

Insights in the paper:

"dispositional optimism is a relevant psychological factor that is able to favor, directly or indirectly, individual well-being. In fact, this frequently results in promoting the adoption of healthy habits, such as giving up smoking or alcohol; furthermore, individuals with positive expectations about their future may appear more compliant toward therapy and with medical advice. In addition, they may appear attentive and predisposed to prevention."

"Dispositional optimism is acknowledged as a psychological factor able to promote healthy behaviours, thus it can be considered an expression of resilience."

Higher levels of optimism are associated with longer lifespan and greater probability of achieving exceptional longevity, even after taking into consideration several covariates and regardless of diverse racial and ethnic groups.

"Longevity and aging are two sides of the same coin. Longevity is the result of the favorable interaction between several biopsychosocial factors, leading to healthy aging; in this perspective, long-living subjects show greater positive expectations about the future, as well as being more resilient in facing age-related challenges. On the other hand, frailty denotes a common adverse outcome in aging; in fact, frail older adults appear less optimistic, and generally exhibit lower resilience, as previously suggested.5 Clinical practice and research are increasingly focused on counteracting frailty and promoting factors of resilience.  Dispositional optimism may denote the psychological common denominator between these two opposite pathways: optimistic subjects are more likely to reach longevity and, in addition, can exhibit lower levels of frailty. The longitudinal contribution of dispositional optimism to frailty trajectories needs to be further investigated."

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