OLDER Aussies might be whingeing themselves into an early grave, according to new research linking life-expectancy with attitude.
The findings will be delivered as part of a symposium on healthy ageing in Canberra on Thursday.
Australian Research Council's Dr Kerry Sargent-Cox, who works in the Centre for Excellence in Population Ageing Research, said people increased their risk of an early death by 12% simply by feeling bad about themselves.
A poor view on ageing also increased the risk of heart issues by more than one-third.
"This research tests the 'self-fulfilling prophecy' notion and finds negative self-perception impacts your ability to age well," Dr Sargent-Cox said.
"Approaching old age with negative expectations directly affects how long you live."
To test the power of positive thinking, boffins put five questions to participants and asked them to agree or disagree.
- Things keep getting worse as I get older.
- I have as much pep as I had last year.
- As I get older, things are better than I thought they would be.
- I am as happy now as I was when I was younger.
- As I get older, I am less useful.
Dr Sargent-Cox said how people viewed themselves was critical to their chances of seeking help.
"Expectations impact a person's decision to go for a walk, seek medical advice for their persistent pain problem, or explore options to manage their arthritis," he said.
"It's these decisions that can ultimately affect your quality of life as an older person and hasten your death."