People in better moods are 35% less likely
to die in the next 5 years when taking their
life situations into account, according to a
study published online 31 October in the
Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences.
The English Longitudinal Study of Age-
ing followed more than 11,000 people age
50 and older since 2002. In 2004, about
4700 sub-
jects collected
saliva samples
four times in
one day and,
at those same
times, rated how
happy, excited,
content, wor-
ried, anxious, and fearful they felt. The
saliva samples are awaiting analysis for
stress hormones, but in the new study, psy-
chologist and epidemiologist Andrew Step-
toe of University College London (UCL),
and UCL colleague Jane Wardle published
their results on mood and mortality.
Of the 924 people who reported the least
positive feelings, 7.3%, or 67, died within
5 years. For people with the most positive
feelings, the rate fell in half, to 3.6%, or 50
of 1399 people. The researchers adjusted
for age, sex, demographic factors, signs of
depression, health (including disease diag-
noses), and behaviors such as smoking and
physical activity. Even with those adjust-
ments, the risk of dying in the next 5 years
was still 35% lower for the ha