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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
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#32 of 30,182)
  • 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)

Mentioned by

news
138 news outlets
blogs
25 blogs
twitter
834 tweeters
facebook
53 Facebook pages
wikipedia
1 Wikipedia page
googleplus
9 Google+ users
reddit
3 Redditors

Citations

dimensions_citation
57 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
199 Mendeley
citeulike
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

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 834 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 199 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 3 2%
Canada 2 1%
United Kingdom 2 1%
Japan 1 <1%
Italy 1 <1%
Ecuador 1 <1%
France 1 <1%
Unknown 188 94%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 38 19%
Student > Ph. D. Student 32 16%
Student > Master 26 13%
Other 22 11%
Student > Bachelor 14 7%
Other 66 33%
Unknown 1 <1%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 72 36%
Psychology 39 20%
Unspecified 21 11%
Social Sciences 18 9%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 12 6%
Other 36 18%
Unknown 1 <1%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1850. 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 31 August 2018.
All research outputs
#710
of 12,278,153 outputs
Outputs from The Lancet
#32
of 30,182 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#22
of 325,703 outputs
Outputs of similar age from The Lancet
#1
of 480 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 12,278,153 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 30,182 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 31.8. 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 325,703 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 480 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.