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Review: positive psychological well-being reduces the risk of mortality in both ill and healthy populations

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Does positive psychological well-being reduce the risk of mortality in healthy and already ill populations?


Risk of mortality.



Systematic review with meta-analysis.

Data sources:

Medline, PsycINFO; Web of Science and PubMed were searched for articles between database inception and January 2008. Reference lists from found articles were also hand searched for additional studies.

Study selection and analysis:

Prospective cohort studies investigating the relationship between positive psychological factors and mortality in both healthy and already ill populations (with follow-up periods of ⩾1 year for ill populations) were included. Studies looking at the effect of either positive affect (state measures) or positive disposition (trait measures) were included. Exclusions: psychological well-being determined by self-rated health or functional status; reversed indicators of negative affect; or mortality outcomes of suicide, injury or accident. Effect sizes were measured using hazard ratios (HR) or relative risks and the data were analysed using random effects modelling because of heterogeneity between studies.


The review identified 35 studies in healthy populations and 35 studies in people …

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  • Source of funding: British Heart Foundation, Sumitomo Life Social Welfare Services Foundation and Kanae Foundation for the Promotion of Medical Science.


  • Competing interests: None.