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Psychosom Med. 2017 Jun;79(5):565-575. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000444.

The Impact of Subjective Well-being on Mortality: A Meta-Analysis of Longitudinal Studies in the General Population.

Author information

1
From the Department of Psychiatry (Martín-María, Miret, Caballero, Rico-Uribe, Ayuso-Mateos), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain; Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Martín-María, Miret, Caballero, Rico-Uribe, Ayuso-Mateos), Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental, CIBERSAM, Spain; Department of Psychiatry (Martín-María, Miret, Caballero, Rico-Uribe, Ayuso-Mateos), Hospital Universitario de La Princesa, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria (IIS-La Princesa), Madrid, Spain; Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (Steptoe), University College London, United Kingdom; and Department of Information (Chatterji), Evidence and Research, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aims of the study were to assess whether subjective well-being is a protective factor for mortality in the general population and to analyze the differential impact of evaluative, experienced, and eudaimonic well-being.

METHODS:

Systematic review of articles in the PsycINFO, Web of Science, and PubMed databases. Data on the studies' characteristics, quality, and the effects of variables were extracted. A meta-analysis was conducted on the studies included in the systematic review.

RESULTS:

A total of 62 articles that investigated mortality in general populations, involving 1,259,949 participants, were found, and added to those considered in a previously published review (n = 14). The meta-analysis showed that subjective well-being was a protective factor for mortality (pooled hazard ratio = 0.920; 95% confidence interval = 0.905-0.934). Although the impact of subjective well-being on survival was significant in both men and women, it was slightly more protective in men. The three aspects of subjective well-being were significant protective factors for mortality. The high level of heterogeneity and the evidences of publication bias may reduce the generalizability of these findings.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our results suggest that subjective well-being is associated with a decreased risk of mortality. Longitudinal studies examining changing levels of well-being and their relationship to longevity would be required to establish a cause-effect relationship. Establishing such a causal relationship would strengthen the case for policy interventions to improve the population subjective well-being to produce longevity gains combined with optimizing quality of life.

PMID:
28033196
DOI:
10.1097/PSY.0000000000000444
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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