• Germany edition
 
Study: Pessimists live longer, healthier lives
Photo: DPA

Study: Pessimists live longer, healthier lives

Published: 28 Feb 2013 14:20 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Feb 2013 14:20 GMT+01:00

Older people who look on the darker side of life tend to live longer than optimists, who in turn face an increased risk of illness and mortality, a new study by a German research institute found on Thursday.

Researchers in Germany and Switzerland found that older people who believe their life satisfaction will be above average in future face a 10-percent higher mortality risk or are more likely to develop physical health problems, the DIW think-tank said.

"It is possible that a pessimistic outlook leads elderly people to look after themselves and their health better and take greater precautions against risks," said one of the researchers, Frieder Lang.

"It seems that older people who have a low expectation of how contented they will be in future lead longer and healthier lives than those who believe their future is rosy," DIW said.

The study was conducted by a team from the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuernberg, the Berlin-based DIW as well as Humboldt University in Berlin and the university of Zurich.

They analysed long-term data compiled between 1993 and 2003 where the same people belonging to three different age groups were asked every year to assess their current level of life satisfaction and how contented they expected to be in five years.

Over the 10-year period the researchers checked with each participant six times whether their expected level of satisfaction tallied with reality five years on.

Results showed 25 percent of older participants realistically estimated their future contentment, while around 43 percent underestimated it and 32 percent overestimated, the DIW said.

Young adults mostly had an unrealistically rosy view of their future, while middle-aged people were largely spot on, it said.

AFP/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

15:19 February 28, 2013 by simski
I'd rather live happy and short than mope around for a couple more years.
16:17 February 28, 2013 by Bulldawg82
I'm optimistic that I will live longer.
17:54 February 28, 2013 by ND1000
@simski, well said. I agree.
17:57 February 28, 2013 by mignargon
And who wants to be longer if you're pessimist?
19:11 February 28, 2013 by yllusion
Optimism shouldn't be confused with lack of judgement and irresponsibility. Did this study really differentiate these things? If we look at people who are very pessimistic, those who even suffer from depression, they are often self neglecting, auto punishing and even suicidal. You have also to assess how much care people take of themselves. Pessimistic people may be more aware of dangers and therefore protect themselves better against risks and diseases, while optimistic people due to ignorance or due to a naive mind may be less aware of risks and consequently expose themselves to danger.

So, being optimistic or pessimistic without knowing how much care one takes of him/herself doesn't mean anything.
21:35 February 28, 2013 by McM
I was afraid of that. Or was I just a frayed knot?
13:22 March 1, 2013 by ichbines
The logic is right I think. Life has an overall tendency to be difficult, unfair and disappointing. Pessimists who assume this, are not depressed because they have already assumed they were going to have defeat and disappointment. Optimists however falsely assume life will treat them right and as a result they are constantly disappointed and depressed.
15:41 March 1, 2013 by Bulldawg82
I'm optimistic that I will turn into a pessimist one day.
00:31 March 2, 2013 by yllusion
@ichbines You are assuming that optimists are liers and pessimists are honest. If we assume that, nothing more makes sense in the research. We have to compare people that take the same amount of care about their health, that eat similar things, that do comparable amount of physical exercises, that have comparable genetic background, etc., but one is constantly satisfied with life, seeing everything in a positive way, always in good mood, and the other is constantly unsatisfied with life, seeing everything in a negative way and constantly in bad mood. And in the end we can't escape to the fact that what really matters is living better, not necessarily longer.
11:09 March 2, 2013 by Roberto Gold
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
13:40 March 3, 2013 by raandy
yllusion we could make the argument that optimists are liberals and pessimists are conservative -:)
13:09 March 9, 2013 by sszorin
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
07:09 March 12, 2013 by wegosolo
This article is just a cheap ploy to keep Germans critical. Humph!
Today's headlines
Tennis aces close in on Fed Cup final
Members of the German Fed Cup Team celebrate after an earlier victory in the tournament. Photo: DPA

Tennis aces close in on Fed Cup final

Germany took hold of their Fed Cup semi-final on Saturday, winning both the opening day singles to lead Australia 2-0 in Brisbane. READ () »

Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradited a former Yugoslav spy chief, Zdravko Mustac, to Germany on Thursday to face charges for the 1983 murder of a dissident on German soil. READ () »

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years
An officer of the Lower Saxon Criminal Investigation Department (CID) securing evidence on the hijacked ship Marida Marguerite. Photo: DPA

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years

A German court has sentenced a Somali pirate chief to 12 years in jail for hijacking a ship off the Horn of Africa and tormenting its crew during an eight-month ordeal. READ () »

New app helps clients find prostitutes
Photo: DPA

New app helps clients find prostitutes

While the German government is considering tightening prostitution laws, Berlin entrepreneurs have developed a smartphone app to connect sex-workers with clients. READ () »

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend
Photo: DPA

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend

The days running up to Easter may be cool and wet, but the holiday weekend should be a bit warmer for most of Germany, according to forecasters. READ () »

Berlin man must call himself a mother
The fight over the transgender man's right to be his child's official father has been raging since last year. Photo: DPA

Berlin man must call himself a mother

A transgender person who became the first man in Germany to give birth in March 2013 must be registered as the child's mother, a court has ruled after his year-long court battle to be named a father. READ () »

Study: rape convictions fall sharply
Photo: DPA

Study: rape convictions fall sharply

The chance of being convicted of rape in Germany has more than halved in the past two decades to fewer than one in ten, a major study revealed on Thursday. READ () »

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax
The tax privilege for investment income is unfair, says the SPD. Photo: DPA

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax

The centre-left half of Germany's coalition government has called for the old top rate of a 45-percent tax on investments to be brought back - to match standard income tax and fight the squeeze on middle incomes. READ () »

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car
Sniffing out the money. Photo: DPA

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car

The number of Germans smuggling large amounts of cash across the Swiss border into Germany rose dramatically last year. Customs officers said on Thursday they made a find in almost every third car they checked. READ () »

Crystal meth use hits record level
Crystal meth seized in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Crystal meth use hits record level

Consumption of crystal meth in Germany appears to have reached a record level, according to government figures published on Thursday. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo:ESL
Sponsored Article
How to integrate successfully in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,102
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd