Previous research into how the body communicates with the mind has demonstrated a connection between pessimistic outlook and negative health behaviors.
The current study, scientists said, builds on existing research to gain knowledge specifically toward the effect of attitudes on lung cancer patients.
The researchers said their retrospective study identified pessimistic and non-pessimistic or optimistic personality styles and found patients classified as having an optimistic attitude survived an average of six months longer compared with patients demonstrating a pessimistic attitude.
Five-year survival rates for the two groups were 32.9 percent for non-pessimists and 21.1 percent for pessimists. Furthermore, the relationship was independent of smoking status, cancer stage, treatment, co-morbidities, age and gender.
"This six-month potential benefit related to an optimistic attitude is more impressive when one considers that the median survival time for this patient population with lung cancer is less than one year," said lead investigator Paul Novotny of the Mayo Clinic.
The research appears in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.