Brenda O'Connell, investigadora principal do projeto de investigação 287/18 - More Thankful, Less Stressed? Gratitude and Physiological reactions to Stress, apoiado pela Fundação BIAL, avaliou, num estudo longitudinal, a relação entre o traço de gratidão e o enfarte agudo do miocárdio numa amostra 912 participantes, de 35 a 86 anos, em que 32.9% tinham hipertensão e 9.6% tinham diabetes. Observou-se que quanto maior o traço de gratidão menor a probabilidade de sofrer enfarte agudo do miocárdio 6.7 anos mais tarde, através de alterações na reatividade da frequência cardíaca, mesmo quando controlada a idade, sexo, índice de massa corporal (IMC), escolaridade, tensão arterial elevada e diabetes. Isto sugere que a gratidão pode atenuar as consequências fisiológicas negativas do stress e melhorar globalmente os resultados cardiovasculares. Para saber mais sobre este estudo, consulte o artigo Heart rate reactivity mediates the relationship between trait gratitude and acute myocardial infarction publicado na revista científica Biological Psychology.
This study examines the relationship between trait gratitude and acute myocardial infarction. A burgeoning body of literature suggests that gratitude can play a role in regulating individual’s cardiovascular responses to stress which in turn, may reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease such as acute myocardial infarction. However, to date no research has examined these effects.
This study used the Mid-Life in the United States dataset (MIDUS; N = 1031) to assess these relationships. Participants completed a standardised cardiovascular stress-testing laboratory protocol and were assessed at a second time-point; on average 6.7 years later.
Results from logistic parallel mediation models suggest that trait gratitude was found to be significantly associated with reduced risk of acute myocardial infarction through the mechanism of increased heart rate reactivity, β = −0.098, 95%CI [− 0.331, − 0.010]. However, neither systolic nor diastolic blood pressure reactivity mediated this relationship.
These findings suggest that gratitude may be associated with certain aspects of physical health. Specifically, our study reveals a potential link between gratitude and cardiovascular reactivity, which could be a mechanism through which trait gratitude contributes to reductions in the risk of myocardial infarction. As such, this study highlights the potential utility of positive psychological factors, such as gratitude, in promoting cardiovascular health.