Optimism Predicts Positive Health in Repatriated Prisoners of War
NAVY MEDICINE OPERATIONAL TRAINING CENTER PENSACOLA FL
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Positive health, defined as a state beyond the mere absence of disease, was used as a model to examine factors for enhancing health despite extreme trauma. The study examined the United States longest detained American prisoners of war, those held in Vietnam in the 1960s through early 1970s. Positive health was measured using a physical and a psychological composite score for each individual, based on 9 physical and 9 psychological variables. Physical and psychological health was correlated with optimism obtained postrepatriation circa 1973. Linear regressions were employed to determine which variables contributed most to health ratings. Optimism was the strongest predictor of physical health, followed by fewer sleep complaints. This model accounted for 25 of the variance. Optimism was also the strongest predictor of psychological health, followed by Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-Psychopathic Deviate MPI-PD McKinley Hathaway, 1944 scores. This model strongly suggests that optimism is a significant predictor of positive physical and psychological health, and optimism also provides long-term protective benefits. These findings and the utility of this model suggest a promising area for future research and intervention.
- Medicine and Medical Research