A satisfying life is good for the health of the heart, shows the results from a large study of British civil servants. Coronary risk factors and satisfaction within seven life domains (love relationships, leisure activities, standard of living, job, family, sex, and one’s self) were assessed in 7956 initially healthy members of the Whitehall II study cohort. Participants rated their satisfaction in each domain on a scale of one (‘very dissatisfied’) to seven (‘very satisfied’). Ratings for each domain were also combined to provide an average life satisfaction score. Participants’ health records were then examined for coronary deaths, heart attacks, and angina over a six-year follow-up period. Results showed that higher levels of average life satisfaction were associated with a significantly reduced risk (13%) of coronary heart disease. This reduced risk of heart disease was also associated with satisfaction in four specific life domains – job, family, sex and self – and was found in both men and women. A statistically significant dose–response effect was found – so that those reporting the greatest average life satisfaction enjoyed the greatest risk reduction in total coronary disease. (Heart health when life is satisfying: evidence from the Whitehall II cohort study. Eur Heart J. 2011 Nov;32(21):2672-7).

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