A long-term British study from University College London found out that seniors feeling younger than their actual age may live longer than seniors feeling older than they actually are.
The research was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. According to its results, people who feel three years younger than their actual age have a lower death rate compared with others, especially those who feel a year older or more.
The average age for the 6,500 participants was 65.8 years while the average self-perceived age was 56.8 years. Participants were divided in 3 groups for the study:
- those whose self-perceived age was close to their age : 25.6% of participants,
- those who felt more than 1 year older than their age: 4.8% of participants,
- those who felt 3 or more years younger which accounted for the majority of of participants (69.6%).
Stress and a other social experiences can affect your self-perceived age
From there, the researchers recorded all mortality causes until March 2013. The mortality rate was 14.3% for people who felt younger than their actual age. Meanwhile, participants with a self-perceived age close to their age reached 18%, and participants who felt older than their age reached 24.6%.
A number of social experiences could indeed affect self-perceived age over a long period of time. Having a baby at an early age, experiencing stress, developing health problems such as heart problems or cancer can speed up self-perceived aging.
The researchers agree that results of these observations need to be investigated further in terms of causes and consequences.