Life Satisfaction leads to a Healthy Heart

Whitehall provides a very large pool of patients to study cardiac health. The results of a large study of British civil servants, suggest that satisfaction with life is associated with better cardiac health. Coronary risk factors and life satisfaction across seven areas (love relationships, leisure activities, family, job, standard of living, sex, and one’s self) were all assessed in 7956 initially healthy subjects. Participants’ health records were then examined for coronary deaths, heart attacks and angina occurring anytime over the following six years.

Results showed that higher levels of average life satisfaction, were associated with a 13% reduced risk of coronary heart disease. This reduced risk was found in both men and women, was associated with the four key life areas of job, family, sex and self, and showed in angina statistics specifically. Those reporting the greatest satisfaction enjoyed the greatest health benefits. No association was found in the areas of love, leisure and standard of living.

(Heart Health when Life is Satisfying: Evidence from the Whitehall II Cohort Study. European Heart Journal, 1 November 2011.)