The Power of Positive Emotions: It's a Matter of Life or Death-Subjective Well-Being and Longevity Over 28 Years in a General Population

Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas-Houston, School of Public Health, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
Health Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.59). 01/2010; 29(1):9-19. DOI: 10.1037/a0016767
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study longitudinally examined Subjective Well-Being (SWB) and its components, namely, Positive Feelings (PF, including global life satisfaction [GLS]), domain life satisfaction [DLS], and positive affect [PA]) as well as Negative Feelings (NF) as predictors of longevity in a general population.
Data from the Alameda County Study over 28 years (1965-1993, N = 6856) were analyzed with multivariate Cox Proportional Hazard Models.
Longevity, evaluated by risks of all-cause, natural-cause, and unnatural-cause mortality.
After demographic and baseline health covariates were controlled, SWB, PF, GLS, and DLS significantly predicted lowered risks of all-cause and natural-cause mortality (Relative Risk per unit predictor increase [RR] ranged .904-.989, p values ranged .000-.05). SWB, PF, and GLS also significantly predicted lowered risk of unnatural-cause mortality (RR ranged .862-.961, p values ranged .014-.05). These associations seemed partially or completely mediated by social networks. The associations were also found separately in younger (<55 in age) and/or older (>or=55) subsamples, and were especially salient in the healthy subsample. However, NF showed no associations with the mortality outcomes.
SWB and its various positive components, but not NF, significantly predict longevity in the general population.

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