longevity

longevity - Life Expectancy 1 Running head: GENERAL...

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Life Expectancy 1 Running head: GENERAL KNOWLEDGE OF LIFE EXPECTANCY AND LONGEVITY General Knowledge of Life Expectancy and Factors Affecting Longevity University of Southern California
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Life Expectancy 2 Abstract Although more research and discoveries are being made on life expectancy and longevity, a majority of Americans do not apply their knowledge of longevity to themselves. This study of 78 Americans suggests that individuals are not aware of their own longevity, but they are aware of some aspects of longevity such as, gender differences in life expectancy and an increased life expectancy as the individual ages. A 30-item questionnaire was used to estimate actuarial life expectancies that were analyzed along with subject estimates of life expectancies. A weak relationship between guesses and estimates indicates that the individuals were unaware of their own life expectancy. Though women correctly reported life expectancies longer than men, they both underestimated their actuarial life expectancies. Education about human longevity could be used to improve personal choices and prepare individuals for later life.
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Life Expectancy 3 General Knowledge of Life Expectancy and Factors Affecting Longevity According to Levinson, interest in adult development is fairly recent, starting in the 1950s with the contributions of Erikson’s stages of the ego’s development. The interest and need for information on adult development has increased since then due to advances in various psychological fields, such as child development and gerontology, as well as the social sciences and humanities (Levinson, 1986). A better understanding of adult development is needed to understand the life cycle and the normative changes that occur in it, especially with the increasing time-span of adulthood. Recent research on adult development and longevity encompasses many areas. Westenthdorp and Kirkwood’s finding show that “human life histories involve a trade-off between longevity and reproduction” with women having their first child later in life as longevity increases (Westendorp & Kirkwood, 1998). Research from Jazwinski indicates that aging has multiple mechanisms and that extended longevity, enhanced metabolic capacity, and response to stress are all associated. Others, like Olshansky et al, have studied factors that affect longevity, and have come to the conclusion that the rise in unhealthy habits, such as obesity, will cause a decline in longevity (Olshansky et al 2005). Healthy habits, such as regular exercise and refraining from smoking, according to Ferrucci et al, are successful predictors of long healthy lives. Though much research has been done to improve our knowledge of adult development, there is still a lack of information on individual longevity and the awareness of it by Americans. The average longevity of a person, or average life expectancy, is the age at which those born in a particular year will have died (Cavanaugh & Blanchard-Fields, 2006).
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2008 for the course PSYC 337L taught by Professor Walsh during the Fall '08 term at USC.

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longevity - Life Expectancy 1 Running head: GENERAL...

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