Positive personality traits such as optimism may help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a study conducted on postmenopausal women claims. The research based on data from a long-term study called the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) explored whether the association between personality traits and risk of diabetes is mediated by behavioural pathways such as diet, smoking, or physical activity.
The study, published in the journal ‘Menopause’, followed 139,924 postmenopausal women from the WHI who were without diabetes at baseline. In 14 years, 19,240 cases of type 2 diabetes were identified.
The results of women with higher quartile of optimism were compared with women who were least optimistic. The former had a 12 per cent lower risk of incident diabetes. Hostility was more strongly associated with risk of diabetes in women who were not obese compared to women who were. “Personality traits remain stable across one’s lifetime; therefore, women at higher risk for diabetes who have low optimism, high negativity, and hostility could have prevention strategies tailored to their personality types,” said JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS).