Feel in Control, Prolong Your Life

The good news? If you have a sense of control in your life, you might reduce your risk of dying by thirteen per cent. The bad news? It won’t work if you’re highly educated.

In a somewhat quirky study published in Health Psychology, researchers examined the link between a sense of control and health. To do so, they looked over six thousand people from a 1995-1995 national survey, which collected things like age, sex, educational levels, health measures like smoking and alcohol use, and answers respecting participants sense of control in their lives. Participants agreed or disagreed with statements like “I can do any thing I set my mind to” and “what happens in life is beyond my control”. Researchers then compared the data to the national death index.

Interestingly, participants who had a strong sense of control in their lives were thirteen per cent less likely to have died. However, the higher a participant’s education, the less the effect seems to have—presumably because highly educated people know that there are many factors that go into ruling our lives, even if they underestimate their own.

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