Before leaving the hospital, patients were asked if they agreed with the statement: \”I can protect myself against having a stroke.\” More than 75% of the patients said they did.
\”This perception that you can protect yourself from another stroke reflects the construct of self-efficacy, or a belief in one\’s ability to achieve a specific outcome,\” Goldmann said in an NYU news release.
In the year after discharge from the hospital, those who took that belief to heart had a reduction in blood pressure of nearly 6 mm Hg. The blood pressure of those who didn\’t believe they could prevent another stroke didn\’t go down, the researchers found.
Further analysis showed that women who had positive health beliefs were more likely to have lowered their blood pressure than men. Women who didn\’t believe in the effect of a positive attitude saw an increase in their blood pressure.
\”In this study, we found an association between self-efficacy and reduced blood pressure, which is consistent with previous studies linking positive psychological states to better health outcomes in the context of cardiovascular disease and stroke,\” Goldmann said.
The report was recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Johns Hopkins University has more on the link between a positive attitude and health.