Broken bodies, broken spirits: How poor health contributes to a cynical worldview

Olga Stavrova, Daniel Ehlebracht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Cynical hostility (or cynicism) is often considered as a major factor leading to bad health outcomes. The present research proposes that poor health might represent both a consequence and a source of cynicism. Using cross‐lagged path analyses, we documented bidirectional associations between health and cynicism in a nationally representative sample of Germans (Study 1) and a large sample of the American elderly (Study 2): cynical individuals were more likely to develop health problems, and poor health promoted the development of a cynical worldview over time. These results were obtained using different indicators of health status, including both self‐reported and interviewer‐administered physical measures. Longitudinal mediation analyses showed perceived constraints to mediate the effect of poor health on cynicism. This effect remained robust even when adding an alternative mediator—depressive symptoms. Additional analyses showed that any particular health limitation was prospectively related to cynicism to the degree to which this limitation was associated with an increased sense of constraints in individuals' life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-71
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Volume33
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Fingerprint

Health Status Indicators
Hostility

Keywords

  • BEHAVIORAL RISK
  • CORONARY-HEART-DISEASE
  • GOODNESS-OF-FIT
  • GRIP STRENGTH
  • LUNG-FUNCTION
  • MODERATING ROLE
  • PERCEIVED CONTROL
  • PERSONALITY-CHANGE
  • PHYSICAL HEALTH
  • SOCIAL SUPPORT
  • cynical hostility
  • cynicism
  • depression
  • health
  • personal control

Cite this

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title = "Broken bodies, broken spirits: How poor health contributes to a cynical worldview",
abstract = "Cynical hostility (or cynicism) is often considered as a major factor leading to bad health outcomes. The present research proposes that poor health might represent both a consequence and a source of cynicism. Using cross‐lagged path analyses, we documented bidirectional associations between health and cynicism in a nationally representative sample of Germans (Study 1) and a large sample of the American elderly (Study 2): cynical individuals were more likely to develop health problems, and poor health promoted the development of a cynical worldview over time. These results were obtained using different indicators of health status, including both self‐reported and interviewer‐administered physical measures. Longitudinal mediation analyses showed perceived constraints to mediate the effect of poor health on cynicism. This effect remained robust even when adding an alternative mediator—depressive symptoms. Additional analyses showed that any particular health limitation was prospectively related to cynicism to the degree to which this limitation was associated with an increased sense of constraints in individuals' life.",
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Broken bodies, broken spirits : How poor health contributes to a cynical worldview. / Stavrova, Olga; Ehlebracht, Daniel.

In: European Journal of Personality, Vol. 33, No. 1, 2019, p. 52-71.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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T1 - Broken bodies, broken spirits

T2 - How poor health contributes to a cynical worldview

AU - Stavrova, Olga

AU - Ehlebracht, Daniel

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AB - Cynical hostility (or cynicism) is often considered as a major factor leading to bad health outcomes. The present research proposes that poor health might represent both a consequence and a source of cynicism. Using cross‐lagged path analyses, we documented bidirectional associations between health and cynicism in a nationally representative sample of Germans (Study 1) and a large sample of the American elderly (Study 2): cynical individuals were more likely to develop health problems, and poor health promoted the development of a cynical worldview over time. These results were obtained using different indicators of health status, including both self‐reported and interviewer‐administered physical measures. Longitudinal mediation analyses showed perceived constraints to mediate the effect of poor health on cynicism. This effect remained robust even when adding an alternative mediator—depressive symptoms. Additional analyses showed that any particular health limitation was prospectively related to cynicism to the degree to which this limitation was associated with an increased sense of constraints in individuals' life.

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