Belief in Control Over Destiny Lowers Mortality Rates in Less Educated Emerging research suggests one’s perception of control can be associated with living a longer life — but only if you did not go to college.

That is, the less education you have, the more your attitude counts when it comes to staying alive and well.

Personality researchers from the University of Rochester and Brandeis University found that adults without college degrees live longer if they feel like they’re in control of their lives.

Those who feel little control are three times as likely to die.

“Being uneducated and poor doesn’t mean you’re doomed, despite all of the studies showing people with less education are more likely to experience disease, disability, and premature death,” said lead author Nicholas Turiano, Ph.D.

The study, published by the American Psychological Association’s Health Psychology journal, followed 6,135 people, ages 25 to 75, for 14 years.

The respondents were part of an ongoing, national questionnaire called the National Survey of Midlife in the United States. The survey collects a variety of data, including an assessment of each subject’s perceived ability to exert influence over life circumstances.

Researchers adjusted for socioeconomic factors such as income and the education level of the subjects’ parents.

Turiano says that even after these other variables are taken into account, the findings held. Sense of control did not affect the mortality rate of people with higher levels of education.

Nevertheless, researchers caution more study is needed to find out why or how people develop a strong sense of control, or when this development occurs. Experts suspect numerous innate and external factors contribute to perceived control.

Turiano says “further study could lead to interventions that help this population feel more positive and, ultimately, live longer.”

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center

Happy elderly man photo by shutterstock.