Journal scan

Enjoyment in older age linked to longer life

Sustained enjoyment of life over several years in older age is associated with lower mortality, and the longer a person reports enjoying life, the lower their risk of death, say researchers from University College London.
Happy_senior-iStock.jpg

Sustained enjoyment of life over several years in older age is associated with lower mortality, and the longer a person reports enjoying life, the lower their risk of death, say researchers from University College London.

They studied 9,365 men and women aged 50 and older who were taking part in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Measures of enjoyment of life were assessed three times at two-year intervals between 2002-06, and mortality associations were analysed up to 2013.

There were 1,310 deaths during the follow-up period, with the researchers noting a progressively higher mortality among people with fewer reports of high enjoyment.

No high levels of enjoyment of life on any occasion were reported in 2,264 (24%) of participants, with 20% having one report of high enjoyment, 22% having

...

Sustained enjoyment of life over several years in older age is associated with lower mortality, and the longer a person reports enjoying life, the lower their risk of death, say researchers from University College London.


The number of reports of high enjoyment was greater in women, research showed. Picture: iStock

They studied 9,365 men and women aged 50 and older who were taking part in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Measures of enjoyment of life were assessed three times at two-year intervals between 2002-06, and mortality associations were analysed up to 2013.

There were 1,310 deaths during the follow-up period, with the researchers noting a progressively higher mortality among people with fewer reports of high enjoyment.

No high levels of enjoyment of life on any occasion were reported in 2,264 (24%) of participants, with 20% having one report of high enjoyment, 22% having two, and 34% having three reports of high enjoyment.

‘New dimension’

The number of reports of high enjoyment was greater in women, and in participants who were married or cohabiting, well-educated, richer, younger and currently in employment.

The researchers found that compared with the no high enjoyment group, all-cause mortality risk was reduced by 17% among people giving two reports, and by 24% in those giving three reports of high enjoyment of life.

They said the study results ‘add a new dimension to understanding the significance of subjective wellbeing for physical health outcomes by documenting a dose-response association with sustained wellbeing.’


Zaninotto P et al (2016) Sustained enjoyment of life and mortality at older ages: analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. BMJ. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i6267

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs