Experiencing Gratitude Tied to Longevity in Older Women

Higher levels of gratitude tied to 9 percent reduction in all-cause mortality and 15 percent reduction in cardiovascular death

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 8, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Experiencing gratitude is associated with greater longevity in older women, according to a study published online July 3 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Ying Chen, Sc.D., from the Human Flourishing Program at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and colleagues examined the association between gratitude and all-cause and cause-specific mortality in later life. The analysis included data from 49,275 U.S. older female registered nurses (mean age, 79 years) who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study (2016 to 2019).

The researchers found that greater gratitude at baseline was associated with a lower hazard of mortality in a monotonic fashion. The highest versus lowest tertile of gratitude was associated with a lower hazard of all-cause deaths (hazard ratio, 0.91), after adjusting for baseline sociodemographic characteristics, social participation, religious involvement, physical health, lifestyle factors, cognitive function, and mental health. Death from cardiovascular disease was also inversely associated with gratitude (hazard ratio, 0.85).

“Prior research indicates that there are ways of intentionally fostering gratitude, such as writing down or discussing what you are grateful for a few times a week,” Chen said in a statement. “Promoting healthy aging is a public health priority, and we hope further studies will improve our understanding of gratitude as psychological resource for enhancing longevity.”

One author disclosed ties to Flourishing Metrics.

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