Life satisfaction linked to better overall health

life satisfaction

Study from UBC finds that high life satisfaction is associated with better physical, emotional and behavioral health.

The study, published in The Milbank Quarterly, discovered that high life satisfaction is linked to 21 positive health and well-being results including:

A 26 per cent reduced risk of mortality
A 46 percent decreased risk of melancholy
A 25 percent reduced risk of physical functioning limits
A 12 percent reduced risk of chronic pain
A 14 per cent decreased risk of sleep difficulty onset
A 8 per cent greater likelihood of frequent physical activity,

Better emotional well-being on many indicators including greater: positive impact, optimism, purpose in life, and command –as well as lower: hopelessness, negative affect, perceived limitations, and loneliness.

Dr. Eric Kim and his team analyzed data from a nationwide representative sample of 12,998 U.S. adults over age 50, in which participants were asked to self-evaluate their life satisfaction and wellness.

This study is the first to see whether a positive change in life satisfaction is related to better results on a wide selection of physical, behavioral and psychosocial wellness and well-being indicators within a four-year interval.

“Life satisfaction is a person’s evaluation of his or her own life based on factors that they deem most relevant,” says Dr. Kim, an assistant professor in UBC’s psychology department and lead author of the study. “While life satisfaction is shaped by genetics, social factors and changing life circumstances, it can also be improved on both the individual level as well as collectively on the national level.”

Dr. Kim says in recent years, intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization have urged countries to use well-being indicators in addition to conventional financial indicators, like GDP, when making policy choices.

“The results of this study suggest that life satisfaction is a valuable target for policymakers to consider when enhancing physical, psychological and behavioral health outcomes at the policy level,” says Dr. Kim.

The researchers chose to test a four-year period as there is emerging evidence that suggests varying levels of life assurance is an important determinant of voting behavior. Further, election cycles happen approximately every four yearss in several nations.

“It is in the interest of policymakers’ election and reelection Attempts to take into account how life assurance can be made better,” says Dr. Kim. “But more importantly understanding what the downstream health and well-being effects of altering life satisfaction may be for people over a four-year interval is vital to appraise, and this is precisely the sort of question we attempted to reply in our analysis.”

Dr. Kim says policy-makers who are interested in searching for practical ideas on the best way to increase life satisfaction in the coverage level Can look to the worldwide Happiness and Well-Being Policy Report, which is Generated from a wider UN initiative co-led by UBC economics Professor emeritus Dr. John Helliwell and Columbia University professor Dr. Jeffrey Sachs.

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Categories: Life