Posted on Nov 05, 2014, 6 a.m.
Older men who lead high-stress lives are likely to die earlier than the average.
Generally speaking, there are two major types of psychological stress: everyday hassles such as commuting, job stress or arguments with family and friends; and significant life events, such as job loss or the death of a spouse. Carolyn M. Aldwin, from Oregon State University (Oregon, USA), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 1,293 men enrolled in the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. The team studied stressful life events and everyday hassles that affected the subjects and followed them for 5 years afterwards. About 43% of the men died by the end of the study period. Roughly one-third of the men who reported having few stressful life events had died, while closer to half of the men reporting moderate or high numbers of stressful events had died by the end of the study. Men who reported few everyday hassles had the lowest mortality rate, at 28.7%. Just under half of the men reporting a mid-range number of hassles had died by the end of the study, while 64.3% of the men reporting a high number of hassles had died. The study authors observe that: “those with the moderate non-linear hassles trajectory were 63% more likely to die than those with low hassles trajectory … while those with consistently high hassles trajectory were over 3 times more likely to die.”
Aldwin CM, Jeong YJ, Igarashi H, Choun S, Spiro A 3rd. “Do hassles mediate between life events and mortality in older men?: Longitudinal findings from the VA Normative Aging Study.” Exp Gerontol. 2014 Jul 1. pii: S0531-5565(14)00205-8.