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Feb 05, 2014 10:13 PM EST

Confident People Are More Likely To Live Longer, Healthier Lives

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Self-confidence and feeling in control could affect a person's risk of mortality, according to a new study.

Researchers from Brandeis University in Massachusetts and the University of Rochester in New York found that people who are confident and believe in their ability to succeed despite hardships, are more likely to live longer and healthier lives, The Oman Observer reported.

Previous studies have shown that people with a high school diploma or less education tend to die younger than those with a college degree or graduate training. Researchers believed this had more to do with confidence levels and the feeling of control.

For the study, investigators used data a national survey of 6,000 people conducted by Midlife in the United States. They discovered that less educated people with higher perceived control in their life had a mortality rate three times lower than those with a lower sense of control.

Margie Lachman, an author on the paper, said a high sense of control seemed to negate mortality risks of lower education.

 "A high sense of control all but wipes out educational differences when it comes to mortality," Lachman said in a statement. "A person with less education but a high sense of control is practically indistinguishable from a person of high education."

 Researchers determined attitudes about perceived control by asking participants to rank agreement to a set of statements. For example, participants were given the statement, "Sometimes I feel I am being pushed around in my life," and asked to rank their agreement from one (strongly disagree) to seven (strongly agree), according to a press release

 "There are methods and strategies for improving one's sense of control, and educational experiences are one of them," Lachman said. "We could implement those approaches in educational and public health programs aimed at increasing health-promoting attitudes and behaviors and ultimately lowering mortality risks."

The study was published online in the journal Health Psychology.

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