Objective: To study the association between explanatory style, using scores from the Optimism-Pessimism (PSM) scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), and self-reported health status, using scores from the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36).
Patients and methods: A total of 447 patients who completed the MMPI between 1962 and 1965 as self-referred general medical outpatients and also completed the SF-36 thirty years later compose the current study sample. The associations between the scores on the SF-36 and the MMPI PSM scale were evaluated by analysis of variance and linear regression analysis.
Results: Of 447 patients, 101 were classified as optimistic, 272 as mixed, and 74 as pessimistic. Scores on all 8 health concept domains from the SF-36 were significantly poorer in the pessimistic group than in both the optimistic and the mixed group.
Conclusion: A pessimistic explanatory style, reflected by higher PSM scale scores, was significantly associated with a self-report of poorer physical and mental functioning on the SF-36 30 years later.