The most amazing finding was that personality characteristics and social relations from childhood can predict one's risk of dying decades later. Many of the findings aren't what you might expect. For example:
- Marriage is good for men's health, but doesn’t matter for women.
- Being divorced is bad for men but much less harmful to women.
- "Don't work too hard, don't stress," isn't good advice for good health and long life.
- Starting formal schooling too early is a risk factor for earlier mortality.
- Having sufficient time for play and having friends at school is very important for children.
- Playing with pets is not associated with longer life. Pets may improve well-being, but they are not a substitute for friends.
- Combat veterans are less likely to live long lives, but surprisingly the psychological stress of war itself is not necessarily a major health threat.
- People who feel loved and cared for report a better sense of well-being, but it doesn't help them live longer.
- The clearest health benefit of social relationships comes from being involved with and helping others.