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Under Similar Stress, Rich Live Longer Than Poor: Study
Date:12/3/2012

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Money may not buy you happiness, but it can help you avoid the ill effects of unhappiness and stress. That's the upshot of a new British study that finds stressed-out rich people live longer than the stressed-out poor.

The findings show that the combination of poverty and stress "is a bomb," said study lead author Dr. Antonio Ivan Lazzarino, clinical research associate at University College London. "Those people have really higher mortality, more than you would expect by just adding the two separate effects."

Researchers already know that stress and poverty take a toll on longevity. The new research aims to "study both stress and income to see how their combinations -- low-low, low-high, high-low, high-high -- affect mortality," Lazzarino said.

The research design doesn't specify how much longer someone may live if he's rich and stressed versus poor and stressed. And why wealthier people may tolerate stress better biologically is not well understood. Also, the study only found an association with wealth, stress and mortality, it didn't prove cause-and-effect.

For the study, published online Dec. 3 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the researchers examined a database of more than 66,500 people in England who were 35 years or older between 1994 and 2004. The participants were questioned about their jobs -- whether they were unskilled workers or held managerial jobs, for instance -- and whether they had symptoms of anxiety, depression, low confidence or social dysfunction. None had cancer or heart disease at the start of the study, which followed participants for eight years on average.

After adjusting their statistics so they wouldn't be thrown off by factors such as age or gender, the researchers found that poor and stressed-out people died earlier.

Having more money seemed to serve as a buffer, even when wealt
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