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Keywords:

  • Five-year mortality;
  • 70-year-olds;
  • mental illness;
  • mental symptoms;
  • personality;
  • sexuality;
  • early bereavement

In 1971–1972 a systematic, representative sample of 70-year-olds living in Gothenburg, Sweden, was studied. The study included a psychiatric examination, during which the subjects were questioned concerning important aspects of their life history, and mental symptoms during the previous month. Any mental signs observed were recorded. Symptoms and signs were rated on rating scales, and summed up in diagnoses. The subjects also filled in three different personality inventories. The examination was performed in 166 men and 226 women. In 1976–1977 we ascertained from parish records which subjects had died before reaching the age of 75. Thirty-two men and 23 women had died. Associations between the psychiatric variables and mortality were studied.

There was a positive association in men between mortality and organic psycho-syndromes. There was a positive, but nonsignificant association with indications of previous alcohol abuse. There was no association with anxiety, depressive and obsessive compulsive neuroses or with personality deviations and few associations with personality dimensions and psychogenic needs. There was a positive association in married men between mortality and early cessation of sexual intercourse. There was also a positive association in men between mortality and loss of parents by death before the age of 16.