Open Access Open Badges Research article

Prospective association between self-reported life satisfaction and mortality: Results from the MONICA/KORA Augsburg S3 survey cohort study

Maria E Lacruz1, Rebecca T Emeny1, Jens Baumert1 and Karl H Ladwig12*

Author Affiliations

1 Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology II, Neuherberg, Germany

2 Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität, Munich, Germany

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:579  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-579

Published: 20 July 2011



To identify factors which determine high life satisfaction (LS) and to analyse the prognostic influence of LS on mortality.


Data collection was conducted on 2,675 participants, age 25-74 years, as part of the MONICA Augsburg Project 1994-95. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to determine factors associated with high LS (measured with one item, 6-level Likert scale, where "high" = very satisfied/most of the time very satisfied with ones personal life). After 12 years mean follow-up, a total of 245 deaths occurred. We calculated age- and sex-adjusted incident mortality rates per 10,000. Hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated from Cox proportional hazards models.


Independent determinants of LS were income, health-perception, and social support, as well as somatisation, anger or depressive symptoms (all p < 0.05). Participants with higher LS (n = 721, 27%) benefited the most with respect to absolute mortality risk reduction (higher LS = 67; mid = 98; low = 140 per 10,000). The sex-stratified analyses indicated an independent association of higher LS and survival for men (HR 0.55; 95% CI 0.37 - 0.81) but not for women.


Baseline assessment demonstrated that psychological, social and life-style factors, but not somatic co-morbidities, were relevant determinants of LS. Moreover, the analysis showed that men with higher LS have a substantial long-term survival benefit. The observed association between LS and mortality may be attributed to common underlying causes such as social network integration and/or self-rated health.