Who Wants To Live Forever? Study Shows At What Age People Hope To Die


You may think that most people want to live for as long as possible, but a new study shows that different people would rather die younger than face the prospect of suffering from conditions like dementia.


In fact, more than one in six people would rather die before they are 80!


Researchers from the Columbia Aging Center spoke with 1,600 adults aged 18 to 64 for a telephone survey. Of those quizzed, the average age was 42, half were women, and 33% were university graduates.


While women tend to live five years longer than men, there was no difference in gender when it came to how long people wanted to live.


However, it seemed that race did make a difference, with Hispanics showing the highest preference for a shorter life, while African Americans were more likely to hope to live for 100 or more years.


Age and education was shown to have little bearing on how long people hoped to live, while the overall results showed that one in three people wanted to live until they were at least 80.


A quarter of adults would like to live into their 90s while the rest wanted to live until they were 100 or more.




Speaking on the findings, Professor Vegard Skirbekk, from the Columbia Aging Center said:


‘We were particularly interested in whether how long people want to live would be related to their expectations about what their life in old age will be like. For many, it seems that the fear of becoming old may outweigh the fear of dying.”


It seems that those with positive expectations of old age were happy to live longer lives, whereas those who had a more negative outlook on old age would prefer to die younger.


Dr Catherine Bowen, who co-authored the study, explained:


“Having rather bleak expectations of what life will be like in old age seems to undermine the desire to live up to and beyond current levels of average life expectancy. People who embrace the “better to die young” attitude may underestimate their ability to cope with negative age-related life experiences as well as to find new sources of well-being in old age.”


The average life expectancy in the United States is 78.7 while in the UK it is 81.5 years.


The findings were published online in the journal Ageing and Society.





Photo Credit: FitNHit / The Front Porch

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