May 17, 2010
The authors of the current study sought to examine whether people who expect to live longer engage in healthier behaviors relative to people who believe their lives will be shorter.
Study investigators recruited 994 black and 373 white patients from a publicly funded STD clinic. Participants estimated their expected survival age and reported their health behaviors (alcohol, tobacco and drug use; sexual behaviors; physical activity; and sleep).
Subjective life expectancy (SLE) was a significant predictor of health behavior for both men and women, the results showed. Race moderated the SLE-health behavior relation but only for alcohol and tobacco use.
"Future research should explore the potential health benefits of shifting SLE from a more limited to an expansive perspective," the investigators concluded.
American Journal of Health Behavior
05.06.2010; Vol. 34; No. 3: P. 349-361 (PDF); Lori A.J. Scott-Sheldon, PhD; Michael P. Carey, PhD; Peter A. Vanable, PhD; Theresa E. Senn, PhD