Who Lives Longer and Why

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Howard Friedman, professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and Leslie Martin, professor of psychology at La Sierra University, co-authors of The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study, confound our expectations of what makes for a long life--optimism is out; hard work is in.


Howard Friedman and Leslie R. Martin, Ph.D.

Comments [21]

Frederick from Seattle

It all sounds all very contrived. If I conduct a study that focuses on one specific sample of the population then my findings will only be valid for that sample. Well that's true most of the time, but not always. Sometimes it does not matter why a study was started, for what reason or who funded it. We must give equal consideration to the data under question and by principle. I doubt that Either one of these scientists has any real knowledge of 1920's science or the Eugenic movement. They would have to be as old as I am to understand.

Mar. 10 2011 07:43 PM
Steve from Baltimore, MD

The findings in the study are based on solid research done over a long period of time and with the same human subjects. The subjects all being of the same select group type. "educated and bright" is however highly significant in affecting the results and final outcome. It certainly sounds like an Eugenic study.

Mar. 10 2011 03:48 PM
William from Washington

We in the scientific community should all thank James and Henry for mentioning Eugenics. For it is alive and well. Today the DNA research being done at our top universities and research laboratories are largely based on work previously started by those who were and still are advocates of Eugenics. That would include all forms of contributors with an interest in their own pursuits. think about that last statement for a while.

Mar. 10 2011 03:04 PM
James from Portland

It appears that documentation reveals that Henry is correct. The original study that was started in the 1920's was funded by the same people funding Eugenics projects.

Mar. 10 2011 11:13 AM
Henry from Cold Spring Harbor

Being familiar with the science of the day in the 1920's it does not surprise me that only well educated, bright people were included in the longevity study. This is because those funding such scientific studies of the day where wealthy, white philanthropists usually trying to prove that white people and certain races where superior over others. This was something known as Eugenics which is the "applied science or the biosocial movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population," usually referring to human populations.
Although the findings may show otherwise, which remains to be proven, it appears this study may have originally been funded to some extent to prove and or disprove Eugenics movement beliefs.

Mar. 10 2011 09:50 AM
Amy from Manhattan

The finding that men made more social connections through work & women through church probably has a lot to do w/the time frame when the participants were of working age & w/what roles were expected of men & of women in that time frame. I wonder how else the times might have affected the results.

Mar. 10 2011 01:52 AM
Roberto from Puerto Rico

My hairdresser and I want to know if anyone of Puerto Rican descent was included in the study? Because we do things a little different in Puerto Rico.

Mar. 09 2011 08:48 PM
MartyB from Westbury, NY

I also listened because Jack sent me this. I'm usually loath to agree with anything Jack has to say about life.Unlike Jack who is rich, I'm not. About the Happiness thing though, that I believe is the key. Don't worry be happy like that song says.

Mar. 09 2011 05:26 PM
JackW. from Brookville, NY

I probably would not have listened, but a friend sent me this today. It brings up some excellent points about living a good long life. I'm not sure all they said. They said this and they said that. So what? I know what works. The life that makes you happy is the one where you have made your life happy by taking the right steps. I agree. Throw out the lists and start looking at your lifestyle. Ask yourself am I happy?

Mar. 09 2011 05:17 PM
Scripps020 from Great Neck, NY

I just think that everyone needs to be more open to studies like this one. However, it makes one wonder how the whole study might have panned out if other people in class groups other than the well educated were also included. I still like the study though and some correlations may be valid.

Mar. 09 2011 05:08 PM
Reader7 from Long Island, NY

I thought some interesting points about life expectancy and our societal beliefs as such as well as metrics for success were are now finally taken under consideration. I'd like to buy this book now.

Mar. 09 2011 04:59 PM
Connie from nj

Yes, we're all going to die, but the healthier your lifestyle, the more likely you will have a better quality of life into your later years. Your final decline will be not only delayed, it will be shorter, swifter and relatively less painful, statistically speaking.

Mar. 09 2011 12:38 PM
Henry from Somerset, NJ

So heavy drinking is a 'masculine' trait. Women who drink heavily, well they share this trait. If more men drink more that does not automatically make it 'masculine'. In our media culture anything negative is deemed to be masculine.
This discussion is a repeat of things we heard before, but that 'masculine' assignation just masquerades as 'scientific'.

Mar. 09 2011 11:52 AM

Life is a RISK! Get over it!

Mar. 09 2011 11:43 AM

@ Waxing Existential from Hofstra U.

Love it!

Exactly, this is another silly discussion IMHO.
Personally, I've accepted that I'm going die at some point and I'm going to live the way I want!

Mar. 09 2011 11:41 AM

Men have a greater problem coping with loneliness Women usually get the kids on their side. I would say that marriage probably shortens the lives of men vis a vis to women, as wives often shorten the lives of their increasingly less relevant male mates.

For some men it's good, but for most men, marriage is an early death sentence. Those men who are strong enough internally to learn how to cope with being alone without resorting to drink, smoking or drugs, can live as long as women.

Mar. 09 2011 11:38 AM
Waxing Existential from Hofstra U.

But all they're talking about it adding another 5-to-10 years of helplessness and senility to the backside of our days before we just wink out and are forgetten anyway. Mere survival isn't an end in itself. We need to ask ourselves not HOW to keep living, but WHY?

Mar. 09 2011 11:36 AM

Like Prince sang: We're all gonna die!

Mar. 09 2011 11:33 AM
Kym from New York

Did the longevity study account for ethnic/cultural differences? Were African-Americans, Latinos and Asian children included in the study?

Mar. 09 2011 11:21 AM
Jean Gazis from Brooklyn

My grandfather was one of the people studied in the Terman study.

Mar. 09 2011 11:13 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Sorry,Brian, but this NPR scandal really deserves some discussion by you.!!!!
And why did your 11:00 AM news segment just omit Ron Schiller's agreement to take money from people demanding less "Zionist coverage" (WSJ, page A4) !!? This is insulting to me as a Jew....and why should I ever give another penny to WNYC???

Mar. 09 2011 11:09 AM

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