The study I recall was a report from the First Duke Longitudinal Study of Aging. Palmore and his associates studied people over many years late in life. They began by interviewing and gathering data from over 200 people 60 to 64 years of age. Fifteen years later they checked to see how many had died. For those still living they estimated their remaining years using actuarial tables. The question Palmore was trying to answer is what is the best predictor on how long a person will live? Is it health activities? Education? Occupation? Tobacco use?
The results were stunning. The single best predictor was job satisfaction. Those people who fifteen years before had reported that they felt useful and were doing meaningful work, these were the people most likely to live longer. Job satisfaction in the latter part of one’s work life was highly correlated with the longevity of that life.
People who are happy in their jobs are more likely to be happy overall in their lives. And all things being equal, perhaps have a higher probability of a longer life.
Palmore, E. (1969). Predicting longevity: a follow-up controlling for age. The Gerontologist, 9, 247-250.
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