Vol. 2, Issue 5 (2017)
Psychological wellbeing as a determinant of physical health at older ages
Author(s): Jyoti Mishra
Abstract: The psychological wellbeing is associated with increased risk of physical illness is not new, since there is an established research literature linking depression and life stress with premature mortality, coronary heart disease (CHD), diabetes, disability and other chronic conditions. What is new is the possibility that positive, psychological wellbeing is a protective factor. Prospective epidemiological studies suggest that positive life evaluations and hedonic states such as happiness predict lower future mortality and morbidity. Research of this type is susceptible to the well-recognised problems of observational epidemiology, including confounding – the possibility that wellbeing is coupled with other factors such as greater education that account for associations with health outcome - and reverse causality – the possibility that the person who reports poor wellbeing is already ill at the time of initial assessment. There is also the issue of publication bias, with evidence that studies showing a favourable impact of wellbeing on health are more likely to appear in print.