Are Optimism and Cynical Hostility Associated with Smoking Cessation in Older Women?

Ana M. Progovac, Yue Fang Chang, Chung Chou H. Chang, Karen A. Matthews, Julie M. Donohue, Michael F. Scheier, Elizabeth B. Habermann, Lewis H. Kuller, Joseph S. Goveas, Benjamin P. Chapman, Paul R. Duberstein, Catherine R. Messina, Kathryn E. Weaver, Nazmus Saquib, Robert B. Wallace, Robert C. Kaplan, Darren Calhoun, J. Carson Smith, Hilary A. Tindle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Optimism and cynical hostility independently predict morbidity and mortality in Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) participants and are associated with current smoking. However, their association with smoking cessation in older women is unknown. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to test whether optimism (positive future expectations) or cynical hostility (mistrust of others) predicts smoking cessation in older women. Methods: Self-reported smoking status was assessed at years 1, 3, and 6 after study entry for WHI baseline smokers who were not missing optimism or cynical hostility scores (n = 10,242). Questionnaires at study entry assessed optimism (Life Orientation Test-Revised) and cynical hostility (Cook-Medley, cynical hostility subscale). Generalized linear mixed models adjusted for sociodemographics, lifestyle factors, and medical and psychosocial characteristics including depressive symptoms. Results: After full covariate adjustment, optimism was not related to smoking cessation. Each 1-point increase in baseline cynical hostility score was associated with 5% lower odds of cessation over 6 years (OR = 0.95, CI = 0.92–0.98, p = 0.0017). Conclusions: In aging postmenopausal women, greater cynical hostility predicts lower smoking cessation over time. Future studies should examine whether individuals with this trait may benefit from more intensive cessation resources or whether attempting to mitigate cynical hostility itself may aid smoking cessation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-510
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Cynical hostility
  • Optimism
  • Pessimism
  • Smoking
  • Smoking cessation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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