MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Bette Liu MD PhD
University of New South Wales
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Liu: There is a generally held belief that being happier makes you live longer. We wanted to look at this question. We examined over 700,000 women enrolled in the UK Million Women Study. We found that being in poor health was associated with being unhappy but after accounting for an individuals poor health, unhappiness in itself was not associated with an increased risk of death. This finding was true for overall deaths, for deaths from heart disease and from cancer and it was true for stress as well as for unhappiness.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Liu: It is untrue that being happier makes you live longer or that being stressed increases your risk of dying.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Liu: We should focus on doing something about the things we know improve people’s health, like reducing smoking rates. That way we’ll not only improve health but most probably also increase people’s happiness.
Does happiness itself directly affect mortality? The prospective UK Million Women Study Bette Liu, Sarah Floud, Kirstin Pirie, Jane Green, Richard Peto, Valerie Beral, for the Million Women Study Collaborators
Published Online December 9, 2015 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S0140-6736(15)01087-9
Dr Bette Liu MD PhD (2015). Being Unhappy Doesn’t Shorten Your Life