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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 May;80(5):804-13.

Positive emotions in early life and longevity: findings from the nun study.

Author information

  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40536-0230, USA. dddann00@uky.edu

Abstract

Handwritten autobiographies from 180 Catholic nuns, composed when participants were a mean age of 22 years, were scored for emotional content and related to survival during ages 75 to 95. A strong inverse association was found between positive emotional content in these writings and risk of mortality in late life (p < .001). As the quartile ranking of positive emotion in early life increased, there was a stepwise decrease in risk of mortality resulting in a 2.5-fold difference between the lowest and highest quartiles. Positive emotional content in early-life autobiographies was strongly associated with longevity 6 decades later. Underlying mechanisms of balanced emotional states are discussed.

PMID:
11374751
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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