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Desire for Extended
Lifespan is Conditional
   Joe Betts-LaCroix* and Munjal Shah
   Health Extension Research Foundation

      *contact: joe@healthext.com
Intro
Previous work suggested that most
people do not wish to live beyond 80-
85 years1,2. We have discovered a
factor that changes this, such that 80%
of people wish to live to 120 years or
longer.
RELEVANCE: Public attitudes on
longevity indirectly affect support and
funding for aging research.
Understanding these attitudes could
help increase funding, as well as
knowing which aspects to prioritize in
order to better serve the public.
Past Work
“I would like to reach the age of ______ years” (N = 1125)




                                     (1) Lang, Frieder R, et al., The Journals
                                     of Gerontology; Sep 2007; 62B, 5




                      80   85
“How long do you want to live?” (N = 31,379)
    70.0%
    60.0%
    50.0%
    40.0%
    30.0%
    20.0%
    10.0%
     0.0%
             80 Years   120 Years   150 Years   Forever

(2) David Duncan, from survey at http://www.whenim164.com
                (note: subject to selection bias)
Methods
1000 people were randomly selected by
a professional research agency to answer
a questionnaire. Properties measured:
desired lifespan(conditional), expected
lifespan, health, interest in
science, importance of religion, life
satisfaction, self
esteem, optimism, age, race, ethnicity, g
Primary questions:
(1) If you could be physically & mentally the same as
your 20s, how long would you like to live?
    • 85 • 120 • 150 • unlimited

(2) If you could be physically the same but NOT mentally
the same as your 20s, how long would you like to live?
    • 85 • 120 • 150 • unlimited

(3) If you could be mentally the same but NOT physically
the same as your 20s, how long would you like to live?
    • 85 • 120 • 150 • unlimited
Results
                               N = 1000
                                                                          novel!




Summary: if either mental or physical decline is expected, more than half want to die at 85.
BUT, if neither mental nor physical decline is expected, then 80% want to live ≥ 120 years!
The responses for “120” and “150” do not change significantly between the Both case and
the Physically-only or Mentally-only cases. Therefore the ratio of “unlimited” to “85” is
used as the dependent variable for the following charts (and denoted “unlimited:85”)
Lowest Self-Esteem correlates with low desire to live indefinitely.
People who rate themselves as Perfectly healthy
 are twice as likely to want to live indefinitely.
Any interest in Science is associated with the normal ratio of 2, but a disinterest
in Science is associated with a severe reversal, nearly 4:1. This unusual group is
only 4% of the sampled population.
Significantly higher interest in unlimited lifespan among:
      Men, Whites, people with Depression or PTSD

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Joe Betts-LaCroix at Health Extension Salon #4

  • 1. Desire for Extended Lifespan is Conditional Joe Betts-LaCroix* and Munjal Shah Health Extension Research Foundation *contact: joe@healthext.com
  • 2. Intro Previous work suggested that most people do not wish to live beyond 80- 85 years1,2. We have discovered a factor that changes this, such that 80% of people wish to live to 120 years or longer.
  • 3. RELEVANCE: Public attitudes on longevity indirectly affect support and funding for aging research. Understanding these attitudes could help increase funding, as well as knowing which aspects to prioritize in order to better serve the public.
  • 4. Past Work “I would like to reach the age of ______ years” (N = 1125) (1) Lang, Frieder R, et al., The Journals of Gerontology; Sep 2007; 62B, 5 80 85
  • 5. “How long do you want to live?” (N = 31,379) 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% 80 Years 120 Years 150 Years Forever (2) David Duncan, from survey at http://www.whenim164.com (note: subject to selection bias)
  • 6. Methods 1000 people were randomly selected by a professional research agency to answer a questionnaire. Properties measured: desired lifespan(conditional), expected lifespan, health, interest in science, importance of religion, life satisfaction, self esteem, optimism, age, race, ethnicity, g
  • 7. Primary questions: (1) If you could be physically & mentally the same as your 20s, how long would you like to live? • 85 • 120 • 150 • unlimited (2) If you could be physically the same but NOT mentally the same as your 20s, how long would you like to live? • 85 • 120 • 150 • unlimited (3) If you could be mentally the same but NOT physically the same as your 20s, how long would you like to live? • 85 • 120 • 150 • unlimited
  • 8. Results N = 1000 novel! Summary: if either mental or physical decline is expected, more than half want to die at 85. BUT, if neither mental nor physical decline is expected, then 80% want to live ≥ 120 years!
  • 9. The responses for “120” and “150” do not change significantly between the Both case and the Physically-only or Mentally-only cases. Therefore the ratio of “unlimited” to “85” is used as the dependent variable for the following charts (and denoted “unlimited:85”)
  • 10. Lowest Self-Esteem correlates with low desire to live indefinitely.
  • 11. People who rate themselves as Perfectly healthy are twice as likely to want to live indefinitely.
  • 12. Any interest in Science is associated with the normal ratio of 2, but a disinterest in Science is associated with a severe reversal, nearly 4:1. This unusual group is only 4% of the sampled population.
  • 13. Significantly higher interest in unlimited lifespan among: Men, Whites, people with Depression or PTSD