Positive psychological states are linked to superior health and longevity, possibly due to behavioral factors. We evaluated cross-sectional and 5-year associations between positive affect and health behaviors in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD).
Outpatients with CHD reported positive affect, physical activity, sleep quality, medication adherence, cigarette smoking, and alcohol use at baseline (n = 1022) and 5 years later (n = 662). Covariates in regression analyses included demographics, cardiac disease severity, and depressive symptoms.
At baseline, higher positive affect (per 1 standard deviation) was associated with better health behaviors: physical activity (odds ratio [OR] = 1.52, 95% 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.30–1.77, p < .001), sleep quality (OR = 1.24, 95% CI = 1.04–1.48, p = .015), medication adherence (OR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.12–1.90, p = .005), and nonsmoking (OR = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.06–1.57, p = .012), but was unrelated to alcohol use. Baseline positive affect did not predict health behaviors at follow-up, accounting for baseline behaviors. However, increases in positive affect across 5 years co-occurred with improvements in physical activity (B = 0.023, standard error [SE] = 0.008, p = .002), sleep quality (B = 0.011, SE = 0.005, p = .039), and medication adherence (B = 0.014, SE = 0.004, p < .001), but not smoking status (OR = 1.07, 95% CI = 0.73–1.55, p = .74).
Positive affect was associated with health behaviors among patients with CHD. Efforts to sustain or enhance positive affect may be promising for promoting better health behaviors.