Research Article

Stressful life events, social support, and mortality in men born in 1933.

BMJ 1993; 307 doi: (Published 30 October 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;307:1102
  1. A Rosengren,
  2. K Orth-Gomér,
  3. H Wedel,
  4. L Wilhelmsen
  1. Department of Medicine, Ostra Hospital, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.


    OBJECTIVE--To examine relations between stressful life events and mortality in middle aged men. DESIGN--Prospective population study. Data on stressful life events, social network, occupation, and other psychosocial factors derived from self administered questionnaires. Mortality data obtained from official registers. SETTING--City of Gothenburg, Sweden. SUBJECTS--752 men from a random population sample of 1016 men aged 50. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Mortality from all causes during seven years' follow up. RESULTS--Life events which had occurred in the year before the baseline examination were significantly associated with mortality from all causes during seven years' follow up. Of the men who had experienced three or more events during the past year 10.9% had died compared with 3.3% among those with no life events (odds ratio 3.6; 95% confidence interval 1.5 to 8.5). The association between recent life events and mortality remained true after smoking, self perceived health, occupational class, and indices of social support were controlled for. Many of the deaths were alcohol related, but the number of deaths was too small to allow for analyses of specific causes of death. The association between life events and mortality was evident only in men with low emotional support. CONCLUSION--Stressful life events are associated with high mortality in middle aged men. Men with adequate emotional support seem to be protected.