ERIC Number: ED332129
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Psychological Predictors of Mortality: Evidence from a 41-Year Prospective Study.
Graves, Pirkko L.; And Others
The Precursors Study, initiated in 1946, has focused on searching for links between psychological patterns and future disease and death. Gathering a broad spectrum of psychobiological characteristics from a large group of medical students, this study has continued year after year. This study examined the role of psychological factors on mortality, especially on early deaths since deaths that occur later in life may be more influenced by organic processes due to aging. A total of 1,337 Johns Hopkins medical students (1,216 male, 121 female), who were enrolled in classes graduating between the years 1948 through 1964, were administered a wide variety of physical, physiologic, and psychological tests, among the latter the Habit Survey and Family Attitudes questionnaires. Since graduation, the subjects have been followed annually through the use of mailed questionnaires and telephone interviews to determine overall health. Results suggest a greater risk of mortality is associated with lack of closeness to parents and with a Tension-In type of temperament. This risk was especially evident for early mortality, defined as death before age 50. In the future when numbers of deaths from a single cause accumulate, it may become possible to pinpoint the contributions of psychological factors to mortality with greater specificity. (BHK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine Scientific Sessions (12th, Washington, DC, March 20-23, 1991).