Five years later, researchers found the most positive patients exercised more and had a 42 percent less chance of dying for any reason during the follow-up period. Deaths were less than 10 percent.
Among patients with less positive attitudes, 50 deaths occurred (16.5 percent).
Positive mood and exercise also cut the risk of heart-related hospitalizations, reports Science Daily.
Coronary artery disease is caused by narrowed arteries that don't provide enough blood and oxygen to the heart.
"We should focus not only on increasing positive attitude in cardiac rehabilitation, but also make sure that patients perform exercise on a regular basis, as exercise is associated with both increased levels of optimism and better health," said Susanne S. Pedersen, one of the study authors and professor of cardiac psychology, the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, the Netherlands, and adjunct professor of cardiac psychology, the University of Southern Denmark and Odense University Hospital, Denmark.
The new research has been published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.