The authors then checked to see which participants were still living by the end of the study period in 2014, and found 6,424 participants had passed away. They found that people who exhibited higher levels of trust tended to enjoy longer lives.
“Whether or not you trust other people, including strangers, makes a difference of about 10 months in terms of life expectancy,” says study co-author Alexander Miething, a researcher at Stockholm University, in a statement.
The study also showed that Americans were generally more likely to be suspicious of others, with distrusters outnumbering trusters 62 percent to 38 percent. They also found overall trust decreased from 43 percent of people in the 1980s to 34 percent in the 2000s.
Miething says that people who live in communities where more residents tend to show distrusting attitudes were also likely to have shorter lifespans. “In those contexts, your risk of dying is higher than in places with more community trust,” he notes.