Free Press Journal

Feeling in control is key to a longer, healthier life


New York: If you believe that life is beyond your control, think twice as it may affect your risk of mortality!

Research suggests that people who feel in control and believe they can achieve goals despite hardships are more likely to live longer and healthier lives.

And higher education does not necessarily means that you have that self-control.

“A high sense of control all but wipes out educational differences when it comes to mortality. A person with less education but a high sense of control is practically indistinguishable from a person of high education,” said Margie Lachman, the Minnie and Harold Fierman Professor of Psychology at Massachusetts-based Brandeis University.

In this study, less educated people with higher perceived control in their life had a mortality rate three times lower than those with a lower sense of control.

In fact, a high sense of control seemed to negate the mortality risks of lower education, added Lachman.

Researchers determined attitudes about perceived control by asking participants to rank agreement to a set of statements.

For example, participants were given the statement, ‘Sometimes I feel I am being pushed around in my life’, and asked to rank their agreement from one (strongly disagree) to seven (strongly agree).

There are methods and strategies for improving one’s sense of control, and educational experiences are one of them.

“We could implement those approaches in educational and public health programmes aimed at increasing health-promoting attitudes and behaviours and ultimately lowering mortality risks,” suggested the study published in the journal of Health Psychology.

The other authors included Nicolas Turiano and Benjamin Chapman of the University of Rochester Medical Center, Frank Infurna of the German Institute for Economic Research and Stefan Agrigoroaei of Brandeis.