Effects of Optimism and Gratitude on Physical Activity, Biomarkers, and Readmissions After an Acute Coronary Syndrome
The Gratitude Research in Acute Coronary Events Study
Background—Positive psychological constructs, such as optimism, are associated with beneficial health outcomes. However, no study has separately examined the effects of multiple positive psychological constructs on behavioral, biological, and clinical outcomes after an acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Accordingly, we aimed to investigate associations of baseline optimism and gratitude with subsequent physical activity, prognostic biomarkers, and cardiac rehospitalizations in post-ACS patients.
Methods and Results—Participants were enrolled during admission for ACS and underwent assessments at baseline (2 weeks post-ACS) and follow-up (6 months later). Associations between baseline positive psychological constructs and subsequent physical activity/biomarkers were analyzed using multivariable linear regression. Associations between baseline positive constructs and 6-month rehospitalizations were assessed via multivariable Cox regression. Overall, 164 participants enrolled and completed the baseline 2-week assessments. Baseline optimism was significantly associated with greater physical activity at 6 months (n=153; β=102.5; 95% confidence interval, 13.6–191.5; P=0.024), controlling for baseline activity and sociodemographic, medical, and negative psychological covariates. Baseline optimism was also associated with lower rates of cardiac readmissions at 6 months (n=164), controlling for age, sex, and medical comorbidity (hazard ratio, 0.92; 95% confidence interval, [0.86–0.98]; P=0.006). There were no significant relationships between optimism and biomarkers. Gratitude was minimally associated with post-ACS outcomes.
Conclusions—Post-ACS optimism, but not gratitude, was prospectively and independently associated with superior physical activity and fewer cardiac readmissions. Whether interventions that target optimism can successfully increase optimism or improve cardiovascular outcomes in post-ACS patients is not yet known, but can be tested in future studies.
- Received July 23, 2015.
- Accepted October 29, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.