In its Three Questions, Three Answers series, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Laura Kubzansky discusses the link between optimism and hypertension. Kubzansky, who is co-author of the study, is the Lee Kum Kee Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences and co-director of the School’s Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness.
Q&A: Laura Kubzansky
CHAN SCHOOL: What did your study find?
KUBZANSKY: In a population of relatively young and healthy U.S. Army active-duty soldiers, we found that those who tested highest for optimism at the start of the study had a 22 percent lower risk of developing hypertension during three-and-a-half years of follow-up than those who scored the lowest. We know that people in the military are more susceptible to early-onset hypertension because of the stressors associated with their jobs (for example, combat exposure), so it was striking to see that much of a