Personality and Diabetes Risk

Are you a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty type of person? When it comes to developing Type 2 diabetes[1], it might make a difference, according to surprising new research[2] just published in the journal of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS)[3]. The study indicates that an optimistic view of life can apparently reduce a person’s diabetes risk.

It’s already known that certain conditions, such as obesity, race, inactivity and family history[4], can predispose a person to Type 2 diabetes. For this study the researchers decided to investigate the possible influence of adverse personality traits, such as depression, cynicism and hostility. From a large database on women’s health, they followed, for 14 years, the cases of nearly 140,000 postmenopausal women without diabetes. The women were ranked in quartiles rating their levels of optimism, negativity and hostility. Over the span of the follow-up, about 19,000 of the women developed Type 2 diabetes.


In the optimism rankings, the researchers found that, compared to the lest optimistic women, the most optimistic women had a 12 percent lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Women in the lowest quartile for negativity had a 9 percent higher risk, while women in the lowest quartile for hostility had a striking 17 percent higher risk. The researchers also reported that these outcomes applied independently of major health behaviors.

According to JoAnn Pinkerton, MD, executive director of NAMS, the findings might prove valuable in helping women prevent Type 2 diabetes. As she put it, “Personality traits remain stable across one’s lifetime. Therefore, women at higher risk for diabetes who have low optimism, high negativity, and hostility could have prevention strategies tailored to their personality types.”

Want to learn more about Type 2 diabetes risk? Read “Type 2 Diabetes and a Healthy Family Lifestyle,”[5] “Diabetes Testing: Type 2 Diabetes”[6] and “Delay or Prevent Type 2 Diabetes.”[7]

  1. Type 2 diabetes:
  2. surprising new research:
  3. journal of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS):
  4. family history:
  5. “Type 2 Diabetes and a Healthy Family Lifestyle,”:
  6. “Diabetes Testing: Type 2 Diabetes”:
  7. “Delay or Prevent Type 2 Diabetes.”:

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Joseph Gustaitis: Joseph Gustaitis is a freelance writer and editor based in the Chicago area. (Joseph Gustaitis is not a medical professional.)

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