Parental longevity and offspring’s optimism

Parental history is positively associated with optimism of the offspring.

Optimism and other positive personality traits have been associated with longevity. We investigated the relationship in a subsample of 769 patients aged 60-80 in the Alpha Omega Trial (AOT) and 1,252 particpants aged 60-84 in the Leiden Longevity Study (LLS). Optimism was assessed with the Life Orientation Test. In both samples parental mean age of death was positively associated with optimism of the offspring.

Dispositional optimism and mean age of death of parents


The positive association between parental longevity and optimism of the offspring indicates that long-lived parents tended to have more optimistic offspring. Longevity of both the father and the mother contributed to the association with optimism of the offspring. Our results suggest that longevity and optimism may be intergenerationally associated.