Ever the optimist: positive attitude linked to decreased risk of falls

22 Sep 2016

Having a positive, optimistic attitude is always a good idea and new research has shown it is associated with a decreased risk of falling while a cynical and hostile attitude is associated with an increased risk.

Published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, the study looked at the extent to which personality influences fall and fracture risk usjng data from 87,342 women.

The researchers found that women with the highest optimism scores were less likely to report two or more falls in the past year while women with the highest scores for hostility had an increased risk of having two or more falls.

Terence O’Neill, Professor of Rheumatology and Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Manchester and a member of the National Osteoporosis Society’s Clinical and Scientific Committee, said the study had presented an interesting finding.

“Personality traits including optimism (expecting good things to happen) and hostility (mistrust of people) have been linked to other diseases including heart disease, though have not previously been studied in relation to the risk of falls or fractures. It is likely that lifestyle and other factors linked with these personality traits, such as levels of physical activity, medications, risk taking behaviour or fear of falling, could explain the increased fall risk, though further research would be needed to look at this.

Such data would be valuable; a better understanding of how personality traits impact on falls could potentially help in the development of targeted prevention programs.”

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