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Generic quality of life predicts all-cause mortality in the short term: evidence from British Household Panel Survey


Background Whether the quality of life (QOL) impacts longevity is an interesting research question that has been investigated only in the context of disease and health-related QOL. This paper aims to examine prospectively whether Control, Autonomy, Self-realisation, and Pleasure (CASP) scores, a measure of generic QOL, can predict mortality in the British Household Panel Survey sample during 2001–2006.

Methods The authors used data from the British Household Panel Survey wave 11 (2001–2002) when CASP was first presented to the participants in the survey. The authors selected all those who were interviewed directly and face to face and who were 40 years or older (N=10 291). The authors followed them for the next five waves (waves 12–16) and in this study primary outcome was all-cause mortality. Other covariates used were age, sex, socioeconomic position, household income, self-rated health, limiting long-standing illness and medical conditions.

Results Compared with a mortality of 12/1000 person-years in those having average QOL (CASP score 29.4–45.8), those with below-average QOL had more than twice (27/1000 person-years) and those above average had a third less (8/1000 person-years) mortality. This gradient was retained for the most part when age and sex strata were examined separately. Regression models adjusted for covariates confirmed the protective effect of QOL on mortality. Domain-specific analysis showed that only control and self-realisation had this effect.

Conclusion CASP predicted 5-year all-cause mortality significantly. Improvement in the QOL reduced the probability of death.

  • Quality of life
  • mortality
  • BHPS
  • ageing
  • quality of life
  • social epidemiology

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