Is your partner optimistic? Why that impacts your health as you age

Optimistic people tend to exhibit healthier behaviors and can often encourage their partners to follow in their footsteps. Getty Images

(Nancy Schimelpfening/ Healthline) — According to a group of Michigan State University researchers, the secret to having a sharper mind as you grow older may lie in having a partner who’s optimistic.

Previous research has linked optimism in individuals with healthy cognitive function. However, the research team for this study wanted to look at whether having a partner with an optimistic attitude could also help preserve a person’s cognitive function as they age.

For their research, the team used 4,457 heterosexual couples from the Health and Retirement Study.

The people who participated in the study were Americans ages 50 and older. It was considered to be a large, diverse group that was representative of this population.

At the beginning of the study, the participants were assessed for optimism through a questionnaire. Cognition was assessed every 2 years over the course of an 8-year follow-up period, with people being tested up to 5 times. (…)

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