Chapter 6+7

First, I’d like to address the finding concerning early age in school. I feel like it may be a little overgeneralized to say that starting school early is likely to lead to an earlier death. I think a better way of phrasing this finding would be that it would be more likely to cause an earlier death if starting school at a younger age was due to the motivation of the parents. For example, I learned how to read by 4 years old and was enrolled in first grade at 5. But that’s simply because I was a really avid learner from a young age. My parents couldn’t stop me from doing math and reading workbooks when I was younger and I would only ask to learn more. I think if learning is stemmed from a child’s genuine interest in education, then you can’t really say that they will end up dying younger due to a dissatisfaction with that decision.

I did, however, understand and agree with the fact that simply one’s level of education wouldn’t predict the age that they die. This finding simply goes back to my perspective that the age that you are likely to die at will most closely correlate with how satisfied you are with your life. If you didn’t want to go to college and you love the job that you’re doing now, then there’s really no reason that you would die earlier. Dissatisfaction with life by far will cause reckless and more risky health behaviors that will lead to an earlier death; simple as that.

As far as the chapter on divorce goes, I can definitely see how that could relate to dissatisfaction with life and an earlier death. We’ve always known that experiencing divorce at a young age can affect a child throughout their maturity and early adulthood. I did, however, find it surprising that the researchers didn’t foresee children with weaker family ties having an easier time adjusting to divorce. For me, that’s a no-brainer. If a child has a less positive family environment, the divorce of the parents is not going to alter that or cause much distress. Whereas, if a child really loves her parents together and values their marriage, it’s obviously going to cause some issues for her to adjust. I think that the relationships in a child’s environment are very important to a child growing up and can have a very strong effect on how a child will interact with others throughout both childhood and adulthood. Consequently, if a child has poorer relationships throughout their life, life is likely going to seem less satisfying, therefore potentially causing an earlier death.

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2 Responses to Chapter 6+7

  1. Amelia Updike says:

    I completely agree with your first couple of sentences, and I like how you use yourself as an example. Sometimes the authors phrase things too bluntly and do not include specific statistics. I think because we are psychology majors we read this book differently and with more skepticism than the average individual. I think it does depend on the child and in your case you were genuinely interested in learning and school. It seems if it is the child’s choice and not the parents then it can be a beneficial choice to move ahead of your peers.
    I like how you conclude that your longevity is based on your happiness and your satisfaction with what you have accomplished. I like to think that this is also the case and you have more control over your longevity than this book sometimes makes it seems.
    I like your concluding paragraph and do agree that a lot of the findings were expected. I also found it unexpected how the researchers found that children with weaker family ties did not have an easier time coping with their parents divorce.

  2. Eve Gilles says:

    I definitely agree with your skepticism about how getting a child started early in school need not necessarily lead to an early death; it is important that the parents follow the child’s lead and are receptive to how much learning and formal schooling he or she is ready for. I also agree that quality of life and career enjoyment likely has more to do with longevity than level of education itself (excluding the SES factors that allow people higher education). The one thing I am not sure about is your assertion that it is a no-brainer that children with weaker family ties have an easier time adjusting to divorce, as I would think children raised in a stable family might have better coping mechanisms.

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