A Harvard research project that followed 268 men for over 72 years found seven main factors leading to "happy-well" senior years instead of "sad-sick" years. It would have been more helpful if the author had summarized what counted as "mature adaptations".

Is there a formula for a good life?

By the time the Grant Study men had entered retirement, Vaillant, who had then been following them for a quarter century, had identified seven major factors that predict healthy aging, both physically and psychologically.

Employing mature adaptations was one. The others were education, stable marriage, not smoking, not abusing alcohol, some exercise, and healthy weight. Of the 106 Harvard men who had five or six of these factors in their favor at age 50, half ended up at 80 as what Vaillant called “happy-well” and only 7.5 percent as “sad-sick.” Meanwhile, of the men who had three or fewer of the health factors at age 50, none ended up “happy-well” at 80. Even if they had been in adequate physical shape at 50, the men who had three or fewer protective factors were three times as likely to be dead at 80 as those with four or more factors.

What factors don’t matter? Vaillant identified some surprises. Cholesterol levels at age 50 have nothing to do with health in old age. While social ease correlates highly with good psychosocial adjustment in college and early adulthood, its significance diminishes over time. The predictive importance of childhood temperament also diminishes over time: shy, anxious kids tend to do poorly in young adulthood, but by age 70, are just as likely as the outgoing kids to be “happy-well.” Vaillant sums up: “If you follow lives long enough, the risk factors for healthy life adjustment change. There is an age to watch your cholesterol and an age to ignore it.”

The study has yielded some additional subtle surprises. Regular exercise in college predicted late-life mental health better than it did physical health. And depression turned out to be a major drain on physical health: of the men who were diagnosed with depression by age 50, more than 70 percent had died or were chronically ill by 63. More broadly, pessimists seemed to suffer physically in comparison with optimists, perhaps because they’re less likely to connect with others or care for themselves.

Views: 45

line

Update Your Membership :

Membership

line

line

Nexus on Social Media:

line

Latest Activity

Loren Miller commented on Christopher Erbland's photo
1 hour ago
Loren Miller commented on Gwen's blog post I know this is stupid but
1 hour ago
Gwen posted a blog post
1 hour ago
Christopher Erbland posted a photo
1 hour ago
Profile IconLauren Ell and Christopher Erbland joined Atheist Nexus
1 hour ago
Christopher Erbland posted a status
"The Atheist Community of Rochester is meeting Sunday, April 2nd at the Brighton Memorial Library at 1:15 PM. Kevin Davis will speak."
5 hours ago
Bertold Brautigan replied to Grinning Cat's discussion Your private internet history up for sale, thanks to Republicans in the group Politics, Economics, and Religion
6 hours ago
Bertold Brautigan replied to Grinning Cat's discussion Your private internet history up for sale, thanks to Republicans in the group Politics, Economics, and Religion
6 hours ago

© 2017   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service