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Does happiness itself directly affect mortality? The prospective UK Million Women Study

Overview of attention for article published in The Lancet, February 2016
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (99th percentile)

Citations

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111 Dimensions

Readers on

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316 Mendeley
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2 CiteULike
Title
Does happiness itself directly affect mortality? The prospective UK Million Women Study
Published in
The Lancet, February 2016
DOI 10.1016/s0140-6736(15)01087-9
Pubmed ID
Authors

Bette Liu, Sarah Floud, Kirstin Pirie, Jane Green, Richard Peto, Valerie Beral

Abstract

Poor health can cause unhappiness and poor health increases mortality. Previous reports of reduced mortality associated with happiness could be due to the increased mortality of people who are unhappy because of their poor health. Also, unhappiness might be associated with lifestyle factors that can affect mortality. We aimed to establish whether, after allowing for the poor health and lifestyle of people who are unhappy, any robust evidence remains that happiness or related subjective measures of wellbeing directly reduce mortality. The Million Women Study is a prospective study of UK women recruited between 1996 and 2001 and followed electronically for cause-specific mortality. 3 years after recruitment, the baseline questionnaire for the present report asked women to self-rate their health, happiness, stress, feelings of control, and whether they felt relaxed. The main analyses were of mortality before Jan 1, 2012, from all causes, from ischaemic heart disease, and from cancer in women who did not have heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive lung disease, or cancer at the time they answered this baseline questionnaire. We used Cox regression, adjusted for baseline self-rated health and lifestyle factors, to calculate mortality rate ratios (RRs) comparing mortality in women who reported being unhappy (ie, happy sometimes, rarely, or never) with those who reported being happy most of the time. Of 719 671 women in the main analyses (median age 59 years [IQR 55-63]), 39% (282 619) reported being happy most of the time, 44% (315 874) usually happy, and 17% (121 178) unhappy. During 10 years (SD 2) follow-up, 4% (31 531) of participants died. Self-rated poor health at baseline was strongly associated with unhappiness. But after adjustment for self-rated health, treatment for hypertension, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, depression, or anxiety, and several sociodemographic and lifestyle factors (including smoking, deprivation, and body-mass index), unhappiness was not associated with mortality from all causes (adjusted RR for unhappy vs happy most of the time 0·98, 95% CI 0·94-1·01), from ischaemic heart disease (0·97, 0·87-1·10), or from cancer (0·98, 0·93-1·02). Findings were similarly null for related measures such as stress or lack of control. In middle-aged women, poor health can cause unhappiness. After allowing for this association and adjusting for potential confounders, happiness and related measures of wellbeing do not appear to have any direct effect on mortality. UK Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 316 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 5 2%
France 2 <1%
Japan 2 <1%
Canada 2 <1%
United Kingdom 2 <1%
Ecuador 1 <1%
Italy 1 <1%
Denmark 1 <1%
Netherlands 1 <1%
Other 1 <1%
Unknown 298 94%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 56 18%
Student > Ph. D. Student 45 14%
Student > Master 37 12%
Other 31 10%
Student > Bachelor 22 7%
Other 93 29%
Unknown 32 10%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 93 29%
Psychology 61 19%
Social Sciences 29 9%
Nursing and Health Professions 20 6%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 14 4%
Other 51 16%
Unknown 48 15%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1837. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 16 September 2019.
All research outputs
#1,556
of 15,164,936 outputs
Outputs from The Lancet
#82
of 34,393 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#29
of 363,874 outputs
Outputs of similar age from The Lancet
#1
of 479 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 15,164,936 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 34,393 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 43.5. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 363,874 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 479 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.