OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to examine the prospective association between life satisfaction and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, myocardial infarction, stroke, and cancer. Previous studies suggested that psychosocial factors may affect the development of chronic diseases but the impact of positive attitudes, in particular life satisfaction, is yet to be determined. METHODS: The analysis included 50,358 participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Germany study in Potsdam and Heidelberg. Life satisfaction was assessed in a baseline interview and incident cases of chronic diseases were identified and verified during follow-up. Hazard ratios were calculated using Cox proportional hazards regression models that were systematically multivariable-adjusted for established risk factors and prevalent diseases. RESULTS: During an average of 8 years of follow-up 2,293 cases of cancer, 1,840 cases of type 2 diabetes mellitus, 440 cases of stroke, and 562 cases of myocardial infarction were observed. Women who were unsatisfied with life at baseline showed in all models a significantly increased risk of cancer (HR: 1.45; 95% CI: 1.18-1.78) and stroke (HR: 1.69; 95% CI: 1.05-2.73) as well as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus by trend across categories (p-trend=0.04) compared to women very satisfied with life. In men, a relationship between life satisfaction and stroke was found but did not persist after consideration of lifestyle factors and prevalent diseases. No significant association was observed between life satisfaction and risk of myocardial infarction. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that reduced life satisfaction is related to the development of chronic diseases-particularly in women and partly mediated by established risk factors.
Type of Publication:
Journal article published