The benefit finders that are optimists were, after 2 years, were 19% more likely to survive.
By far, the most influential and interesting study done in this area of benefit finding and optimism was the nun study.
The nun study showed in many ways that the Bible was correct, that joy does prolongeth our lives.
And the nun study was done, started in 1932.
In 1932, 178 nuns who just completed their training.
They were around the age of 22, just about to embark on their mission were tested on numerous accounts. One of the things they did was write biographical sketches of themselves.
And we had this data for decades.
And psychologists just very recently opened up the data and wanted to look at it, wanted to understand what predicts longevity.
Which of the nuns are still alive today? How long did they live?
OK, this was done in 1932 when they were avergae age of 22.
And they looked for predictors of longevity so they looked at how complex their essays were — in other words, their intellectual capacities,
zero correlation to longevity; they looked at place of residence — maybe they lived in places with less or more pollution
that would impact how long they lived, zero correlation- California, Boston, no difference;
they looked at how devout they were, their levels of belief at that time at the age of 22- didn't predict longevity.