Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Political Party Affiliation, Political Ideology, and Mortality

Background: Ecological and cross-sectional studies have indicated that conservative political ideology is associated with better health. Longitudinal analyses are needed. Political beliefs, assessed by an individual’s political party affiliation or political ideology, may be predictive of health and longevity.

Methods: Data were derived from the 2008 General Social Survey-National Death Index dataset. Cox proportional analysis models were used to determine whether political party affiliation or political ideology were associated with risk for mortality. Also, we attempted to identify whether self-reported happiness and self-rated health acted as mediators between political beliefs and risk for mortality.

Results: In this analysis of 32,830 participants, we find that political party affiliation and political ideology are both associated with mortality. However, with the exception of Independents (adjusted hazards ratio [AHR]=0.93, 95% Confidence Interval [CI]=0.90,0.97) political party differences are explained by the participants’ underlying sociodemographic characteristics. With respect to ideology, conservatives (AHR=1.06, 95% CI=1.01,1.12) and moderates (AHR=1.06, 95% CI=1.01,1.11) are at greater risk for mortality during follow-up than liberals.

Conclusion: Political party affiliation and political ideology appear to be different predictors of mortality. Key words: Political party affiliation, political ideology, mortality, survival analysis
Source: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

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