Saturday, March 12, 2011

Working and Longevity May Go Hand in Hand

As Emily Yoffe writes in Slate, people who keep doing useful work may have the secret to living longer and healthier. Drawing on The Longevity Project, by psychology professors Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin, which presents the end-of-life findings of the Terman study, one of the longest-lasting longitudinal research projects ever undertaken, she finds evidence that maybe retirement should not be seen as the severing of oneself from the work of a lifetime.

Friedman dislikes that notion of retirement, and from his research he's come to believe such an attitude is bad both for society and individuals. Most "of the Terman males (given the attitudes of the times, far fewer of the women Termites worked) had solid, sometimes even exceptional careers. Interviews done with successful Termites in their 70s, several of them lawyers, showed a striking number continued to work part time."

Furthermore, Yoffe notes, those who contemplate retirement as decades filled with leisure and relaxation may be mistaken; fun may be overrated and stress can be unfairly maligned. "Many study participants who lived vigorously into old age had highly stressful jobs."

Source: Slate "Don't Stop Working!" (March 10, 2011)

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