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J Behav Med. 1998 Dec;21(6):517-26.

Trust, health, and longevity.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Scores on the Rotter Interpersonal Trust Scale were evaluated as predictors of psychological well-being, functional health, and longevity in a sample of 100 men and women who were between 55 and 80 years old at baseline (mean age 66.8). Cross-sectionally, high levels of trust were associated with better self-rated health and more life satisfaction. Follow-up over approximately 8 years found baseline levels of trust to be positively related to subsequent functional health, but not to subsequent life satisfaction. Mortality follow-up after 14 years demonstrated that those with high levels of trust had longer survival (p = .03), a finding that was somewhat weakened by controlling for baseline health ratings. These findings illustrate the health protective effects of high levels of trust and suggest the potential usefulness of the trust concept for understanding successful aging.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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