Scheier, M. F., Matthews, K. A., Owens, J. F., Schulz, R., Bridges, M. W., Magovern, G. J., Sr., & Carver, C. S.  (1999).  Optimism and rehospitalization following coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Archives of Internal Medicine,159, 829-835.

1.  Background.  The purpose was to determine whether optimism predicts lower rates of rehospitalization following coronary artery bypass graft surgery through 6-months postsurgery.
2.  Methods.  A prospective, inception cohort design was used.  The sample consisted of all consenting patients (N = 309) from a consecutive series of patients scheduled for surgery at a large, metropolitan hospital located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  To be eligible, patients could not be scheduled for any other coincidental surgery (e.g., valve replacement), and could not be in Cardiac Intensive Care or experiencing angina at the time of the referral.  Participants were predominately male (70%) and married (80%), and averaged 62.8 years of age.  Recruitment occurred between January 1992 and January 1994.
3.  Results.  Compared to pessimistic persons, optimistic persons were significantly less likely to be rehospitalized for a broad range of aggregated problems (including postsurgical sternal wound infection, angina, MI, and the need for re-bypass surgery or percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty) generally indicative of a poor response to the initial surgery  (odds ratio = .50, 95% confidence interval, .33 to .76, P = .001).  The effect of optimism was independent of traditional sociodemographic and medical control variables, as well as independent of the effects of self-esteem, depression, and neuroticism.  All-cause rehospitalization also tended to be less frequent for optimistic than pessimistic persons (odds ratio = .77, 95% confidence interval, .57 to 1.05, P = .07).
4.  Conclusions.  Optimism predicts a lower rate of rehospitalization following coronary artery bypass graft surgery.  Fostering positive expectations may promote better recovery.

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University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology