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Am J Health Promot. 2008 Sep-Oct;23(1):18-26. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.061023137.

Happiness and life satisfaction prospectively predict self-rated health, physical health, and the presence of limiting, long-term health conditions.

Author information

1
Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health Sciences, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 986075 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-6075, USA. msiahpush@unmc.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To examine the effect of happiness and life satisfaction on health.

DESIGN:

Longitudinal data from waves 1 and 3, conducted in 2001 and 2004, respectively, of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey.

SETTING:

Australia.

SUBJECTS:

A total of 9981 respondents aged 18 years and older.

MEASURES:

Outcomes were self-reported health; the absence of long-term, limiting health conditions; and physical health. Happiness was assessed with the following question: "During the past 4 weeks, have you been a happy person"? Life satisfaction was determined with the following question: "All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life"?

ANALYSIS:

We used multiple regression analysis to estimate odds ratios (ORs), beta coefficients (beta), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the associations between baseline happiness or life satisfaction and health at wave 3.

RESULTS:

Baseline happiness and life satisfaction both were positively associated at wave 3 with excellent, very good, or good health (OR = 1.50, CI = 1.33-1.70, p < .0001; and OR = 1.62, CI = 1.27-2.08, p < .0001, respectively); with the absence of long-term, limiting health conditions (OR = 1.53, CI = 1.35-1.75, p < .0001; and OR = 1.51, CI = 1.25-1.82, p < .0001, respectively); and with higher physical health levels (beta = .99, CI = .60-1.39, p < .0001; and beta = .99, CI = .20-1.78, p < .0145, respectively).

CONCLUSION:

This study showed that happier people and those who were more satisfied with their lives at baseline reported better health (self-rated health; absence of limiting, long-term conditions; and physical health) at the 2-year follow-up when adjusted for baseline health and other relevant covariates.

PMID:
18785370
DOI:
10.4278/ajhp.061023137
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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