Happiness and life satisfaction prospectively predict self-rated health, physical health, and the presence of limiting, long-term health conditions

Mohammad Siahpush, Matt Spittal, Gopal K. Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

95 Scopus citations


Purpose. To examine the effect of happiness and life satisfaction on health. Design. Longitudinal data from waves 1 and 3, conducted in 2001 and 2004, respectively, of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey. Setting. Australia. Subjects. A total of 9981 respondents aged 18 years and older. Measures. Outcomes were self-reported health; the absence of long-term, limiting health conditions; and physical health. Happiness was assessed with the following question: "During the past 4 weeks, have you been a happy person"? Life, satisfaction was determined with the following question: "All things considered, how satisfied are, you with your life"? Analysis. We used multiple regression analysis to estimate odds ratios (ORs), beta coefficients (β), and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) for the associations between baseline happiness or life satisfaction and health at wave 3. Results. Baseline happiness and life satisfaction both were positively associated at wave 3 with excellent, verygood, or good health (OR = 1.50, CI = 1.33-1.70, p < .0001; and OR = 1.62, CI = 1.27-2.08, p < .0001, respectively); with the absence of long-term, limiting health conditions (OR = 1.53, CI = 1.35-1.75, p < .0001; and OR = 1.51, CI = 1.25-1.82, p < .0001, respectively); and with higher physical health levels (β = .99, CI = .60-1.39, p < .0001; and β = .99, CI = .20-1.78, p < .0145, respectively). Conclusion. This study showed that happier people and those who were more satisfied with their lives at baseline reported better health (self-rated health; absence of limiting, long-term conditions; and physical health) at the 2-year follow-up when adjusted for baseline health and other relevant covariates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-26
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2008



  • Happiness
  • Life satisfaction
  • Long-term health conditions
  • Physical health
  • Self-rated health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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