Divorce one of three factors ‘closely linked to an early death’
Divorce can shorten a person's life expectancy. (Getty Images)
Divorce is one of three social or behavioral factors associated with early death.
Scientists from the University of British Columbia examined more than 13,000 adults over 22 years.
Of 57 lifestyle factors, divorce, smoking and alcohol abuse were most closely related to the deaths of the study participants during the follow-up period.
Perhaps surprisingly, never getting married was not in the top 10 either.
Read more: Education can be the best predictor of who will live the longest.
The average Brit lives up to 81 years, while life expectancy in the US is slightly lower at 78.
Physical health and the prevalence of diseases are always taken into account when predicting mortality.
British Columbia scientists had little understanding of the impact of social, economic, and behavioral factors, and analyzed data from the US health and retirement study.
Between 1992 and 2008, information was collected on thousands of people with an average age of 69 years.
Social, behavioral, and economic factors were then associated with deaths that occurred between 2008 and 2014.
Read more: Finding the "meaning of life" can be the key to staying healthy until old age
Of the 57 factors, the 10 most closely related to death, in order of importance, were:
Smoking at the moment
A history of alcohol abuse
Recent financial difficulties
A history of unemployment
Low life satisfaction
Never get married
A history of using food stamps
"Negative affectivity", a "half-empty" perspective on life
The scientists have not explained how these various factors can affect lifespan.
Some, such as smoking and alcohol abuse, are clearly associated with poorer health. However, marital status, life satisfaction and negative affectivity are less clear.
It has been suggested that individuals are less likely to take care of themselves or go to the doctor because there is no one to "nag" them.
Not surprisingly, smoking was the lifestyle factor most associated with early death. (Getty Images)
The scientists emphasized that not every possible need was addressed; For example, domestic abuse was not considered.
However, the results - published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - show how different factors can affect lifespan.
"If we put money and effort into interventions or policy changes, these areas could potentially generate the greatest return on this investment," said lead author Dr. Eli Puterman.
“Smoking has been recognized as one of the biggest predictors of mortality, if not longer, for 40 years. However, if you identify a factor such as negative affectivity - this idea that you tend to see and feel in your life - we can see that we may need to target you with interventions.
Read More: Healthy middle-aged habits can add a decade of “disease-free years”.
"Can we postpone it and affect the mortality rate? Can we also take targeted measures for the unemployed and people with financial difficulties to reduce their risk?
"It shows that a lifelong approach is needed to truly understand health and mortality."
People may be surprised that a history of unemployment, rather than being unemployed, can have a lasting impact.
"Instead of just asking if people are unemployed, we looked at their unemployment history for 16 years," said Dr. Puterman.
“It's more than just a one-time snapshot in people's lives where something could be overlooked because it didn't happen.
"Our approach offers a look at possible long-term effects from a lifetime lens."
Work: average life expectancy for poorest women "shameful"
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth has described a report on health inequalities in the UK as "a shameful charge against austerity measures". He has shown that women's life expectancy in England's poorest communities has decreased since 2011.
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