Introduction: The relationship between positive psychological well-being (PPWB) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) is inconsistent across different CVD outcomes and for different PPWB constructs, such as positive affect. In addition, the relationship between PPWB and CVD as a composite measure is rarely assessed.
Objective: To assess whether positive affect is protective of incident CVD.
Method: Positive affect was assessed in two cohorts between 1993 and 2001 in Rotterdam using relevant questions from the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS; in a sub-sample) in 6349 non-demented, CVD-free, consenting adults, aged 55+years. Composite CVD was defined as stroke, heart failure and coronary heart disease, which were continuously monitored through medical records until 1st April 2010.
Results: There were 1480 (23.3%) first time CVD events during follow-up (11.9 ± 2.8 SD years, 58,416 person-years). Positive affect was not associated with incident CVD (CES-D HR: 1.00 per point, 95% CI: 0.98-1.02; HADS HR: 0.98, 95% CI: 0.92-1.05). Stratification by age or sex and assessment of separate CVD outcome did not change results.
Conclusion: In this large, population-based study, there was no association between positive affect and twelve-year incident CVD in older adults who were free of diagnosed CVD at baseline.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Coronary heart disease; Happiness; Heart failure; Positive affect; Stroke; Well-being.
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