Social Status and Life Expectancy in an Advantaged Population: A Study of Academy Award–Winning Actors. Ann Intern Med. 2001;134:S6. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-134-10-200105150-00005
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 2001;134(10):S6.
Low social status is known to be associated with poor health. For example, poor populations have worse outcomes from illness than wealthy populations, and studies of civil service workers in Great Britain have shown that higher job status is associated with longer life expectancy. It is not known, however, whether higher social status is associated with better health even among people who are already socially and economically well-to-do.
To explore whether increased social status of the kind that comes with winning a highly regarded professional award is associated with living longer in people who are already socially and economically advantaged.
The researchers studied all 762 actors and actresses who have ever been nominated for an Academy Award (“Oscar”) in a leading or supporting movie role through the year 2000. For each nominated actor, the researchers also identified controls. Controls were performers who were in the same film, were the same sex, and were born in the same era as the nominees but who were not nominated for an Academy Award in that film.
Using information from the All Movie Guide (www.allmovie.com) and the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com), as well as from the National Film Information Service and printed sources, the researchers gathered such information as actors' birth and death dates, country of birth, ethnic background, age at making of their first film, and total number of films. The researchers then calculated how long Academy Award winners lived compared with actors who were nominated but never won and with actors who had never been nominated.
Of the 1649 actors studied, 772 had died. Winners lived 3.9 years longer than actors who were nominated but did not win an Academy Award and those who were never nominated; on average, winners lived to be 79.7 years old, while nonwinners lived to be 75.8 years old. Winning multiple Academy Awards was associated with additional benefit in life expectancy, but additional nominations or acting in additional films were not.
The researchers did not have information about other important health factors, such as education, income, family and personal medical history, and health habits (for example, tobacco, alcohol, and drug use), for each of the actors. Without that information, the study cannot tell us why winners live longer than nonwinners.
Widespread professional recognition appears to be associated with living longer among movie actors. It will be interesting to see whether such associations also exist among other groups of people who are at less extreme positions in society.
The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.
Cardiology, Coronary Risk Factors, Smoking.
Results provided by:
Copyright © 2016 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only