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Scientific article
Open access
English

Think Fast, Feel Fine, Live Long: A 29-Year Study of Cognition, Health, and Survival in Middle-Aged and Older Adults

Published inPsychological science, vol. 27, no. 4, p. 518-529
Publication date2016
Abstract

In a 29-year study of 6,203 individuals ranging in age from 41 to 96 years at initial assessment, we evaluated the relative and combined influence of 65 mortality risk factors, which included sociodemographic variables, lifestyle attributes, medical indices, and multiple cognitive abilities. Reductions in mortality risk were most associated with higher self-rated health, female gender, fewer years as a smoker, and smaller decrements in processing speed with age. Thus, two psychological variables—subjective health status and processing speed—were among the top predictors of survival. We suggest that these psychological attributes, unlike risk factors that are more narrowly defined, reflect (and are influenced by) a broad range of health-related behaviors and characteristics. Information about these attributes can be obtained with relatively little effort or cost and—given the tractability of these measures in different cultural contexts—may prove expedient for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions related to increased mortality risk in diverse human populations.

Keywords
  • Aging
  • Cognitive ability
  • Death and dying
  • Cognitive development
  • Health
Citation (ISO format)
AICHELE, Stephen, RABBITT, Patrick, GHISLETTA, Paolo. Think Fast, Feel Fine, Live Long: A 29-Year Study of Cognition, Health, and Survival in Middle-Aged and Older Adults. In: Psychological science, 2016, vol. 27, n° 4, p. 518–529. doi: 10.1177/0956797615626906
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Identifiers
ISSN of the journal0956-7976
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