How does mental outlook affect a person’s health? The answer to this question may allow physicians to care more effectively for their patients. In an experiment to examine the relationship between attitude and physical health, Dr. Daniel Mark, a heart specialist at Duke University, studied 1,719 men and women who had recently undergone a heart catheterization, a procedure that checks for clogged arteries. Patients undergo this procedure when heart disease results in chest pain. All of the patients in the experiment were in about the same condition. In interviews, 14% of the patients doubted that they would recover sufficiently to resume their daily routines. Dr. Mark identified these individuals as pessimists; the others were (by default) optimists. After one year, Dr. Mark recorded how many patients were still alive. The data are stored in columns 1 (1 = optimist, 2 = pessimist) and 2 (2 = alive, 1 = dead). Do these data allow us to infer that pessimists are less likely to survive than optimists with similar physical ailments?

  • CreatedFebruary 03, 2015
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