Subjective life expectancy and health behaviors among STD clinic patients

Lori A.J. Scott-Sheldon, Michael P. Carey, Peter A. Vanable, Theresa E. Senn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objectives: To examine whether people who expect to live longer engage in healthier behaviors relative to people who expect to live shorter lives. Methods: Patients (994 black Americans, 373 white Americans) from a publicly funded clinic estimated their expected survival age and reported their health behaviors (alcohol, tobacco, and drug use; sexual behaviors; physical activity; and sleep). Results: Subjective life expectancy (SLE) was a significant predictor of health behavior for both men and women. Race moderated the SLE-health behavior relation but only for alcohol and tobacco use. Conclusions: Future research should explore the potential health benefits of shifting SLE from a more limited to an expansive perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-361
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender
  • Health behaviors
  • Life expectancy
  • Race
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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