Childhood adversity is linked to poor cardiometabolic outcomes, but less is known about positive childhood factors. Using data from 4,007 members of the 1958 British Birth Cohort, we investigated whether children with greater psychological well-being had lower adulthood cardiometabolic risk. At age 11, participants wrote essays about their future. Two judges rated each essay for nine psychological well-being items (Finn’s r = .82–.91), which were combined into a standardized overall score (Cronbach’s α = .91). When participants reached age 45, nurses assessed their blood pressure, heart rate, lipids, glycosylated hemoglobin, fibrinogen, and C-reactive protein, which were standardized and summed for total cardiometabolic risk. Regressions indicated that children with greater psychological well-being had lower cardiometabolic risk (b = −0.14, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [−0.28, −0.006]): specifically, healthier total cholesterol (b = −0.04, 95% CI = [−0.07, −0.003]) and triglycerides (b = −0.06, 95% CI = [−0.09, −0.02]). Childhood psychological well-being may promote adulthood cardiometabolic health.
Boehm, J. K., Qureshi, F., & Kubzansky, L. D. (2022). Psychological well-being in childhood and cardiometabolic risk in middle adulthood: Findings From the 1958 British Birth Cohort. Psychological Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/09567976221075608