"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Divorce and Longevity at the WSJ

The best childhood predictor of longevity, it turns out, is a quality best defined as conscientiousness: "the often complex pattern of persistence, prudence, hard work, close involvement with friends and communities" that produces a well-organized person who is "somewhat obsessive and not at all carefree."

The Wall St Journal review of The Longevity Project, in which we are informed that a parental divorce in childhood shortens the child's life -- or did, anyway. This study was from a time when divorce was really a social disaster. Also, there is no way to compare the result of a miserable, non-divorced childhood had the parents not divorced. So, bearing in mind that there are lies, damn lies and statistics, this looks like an interesting book:

"...chipper types were also more likely to die from homicide, suicide or accident. Of course, the authors don't suggest telling happy kids to wipe the grins off their faces..."

So, conscientious, obsessive, prudent kids live longer... or does it just seem longer?

1 comment:

Howard Friedman said...

It doesn't just seem longer. The stable, conscientious children had better careers and more interesting lives! For more information about The Longevity Project and to read the Introduction (free), go to
There is also a Facebook page with lots of discussion about The Longevity Project.