Its known for long that ignorance is bliss, now we know it also improves one's health.
University of Rochester Medical Center researcher Robert Gramling, M.D., D.Sc., found that men who believed they were at lower-than-average risk for cardiovascular disease actually experienced a three times lower incidence of death from heart attacks and strokes.
Researchers were interested in measuring whether optimistic perceptions of risk might protect people from the fear-related coping behaviors (overeating comfort foods, too much alcohol, or avoiding the doctor) or the stress that can be associated with heart disease.
Men's views were more discordant. Almost half of the men who self-rated their risk to be "low" would have been classified by objective medical tests as having "high" or "very high" risk. Most women who rated their risk to be "low" were far more accurate than the men.
"Clearly, holding optimistic perceptions of risk has its advantages for men," said Gramling, an assistant professor of Family Medicine and Community and Preventive Medicine.