ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) — Believe it or not, being a cynic could cost you your life.

According to a new study, middle-aged and older people that are highly stressed, depressed, or cynical may be at risk of experiencing a stroke, Live Science reports.

The longitudinal study, which examined 6,700 participants over eight to 11 years, involved a questionnaire that was given to adults between the ages of 45 and 85. The questionnaire asked questions related to stress levels, depressive symptoms, feelings of anger, and hostility, a familiar measure of cynicism in the literature.

Researchers found an interesting link between these psychological factors and risk of stroke.

“There’s such a focus on traditional risk factors – cholesterol levels, blood pressure, smoking, and so forth.  And those are all very important, but studies like this one show that psychological characteristics are equally important,” study researcher Susan Everson-Rose, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota said.

The reason for the link between cynicism and stroke is still unclear, however by the end of the study, around 200 strokes had occurred overall, with participants that had higher levels of cynicism being twice as likely to experience one.

Additionally, depressed participants were 86 percent more likely to have stroke while highly stressed participants were 56 percent more likely to experience one.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about 800,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke each year.

This is food for thought for those who aren’t quick to trust and believe those around them.


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