A new study from the University of Kentucky says that staying optimistic might boost the immune system and confer better health on individuals.
The study by Professor Suzanne Segerstrom and colleagues involved 124 law students who completed five questionnaires and had immunity checks over the course of a year. A dose of dead mumps virus or candida yeast was injected under the skin of the forearm to test immunity, while optimism was clearly checked by assessing the students' response to statements like "I will be less successful than most of my classmates."
The study found that as optimism levels increased, the immune response also increased, while it decreased with pessimism. "I think that when people are feeling optimistic about a specific, important challenge they are facing, they may be less vulnerable to certain health problems, like viral infections," said Professor Suzanne Segerstrom.
The details of the study appear in the journal Psychological Science.