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Do people with a high IQ age more slowly?

09 August 2018

Take a moment to consider how old you feel. Not your actual, biological age – but your own subjective feelings.

Abundant research during the past few decades have shown that this “subjective age” can be a powerful predictor of your health, including the risk of depression, diabetes and hypertension, dementia, and hospitalisation for illness and injury, and even mortality – better than your actual age. In each case, the younger you feel, the healthier you are. 

The link probably goes in both directions. So while it’s true that ill-health may make you feel older, a higher subjective age could also limit your physical activity and increase feelings of vulnerability that make it hard to cope with stress – both of which could, independently, lead to illness.

The result could even be a vicious cycle, where feelings of accelerated ageing lead you to become more inactive, and the resulting ill-health then further confirms your pessimistic views. And as I recently wrote for BBC Future, understanding this process could be essential for designing more effective health programmes.

Read more in a post from guest blogger David Robson on our Research Digest blog.

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