The Initials Effect

Found by psychologist Nicholas Christenfeld. The effect is that if the initials of your name spell out something positive (such as J.O.Y. or G.O.D.) you'll likely live longer than someone whose initials spell out something negative (B.A.D. or A.S.S.).

From his article in the Journal of Psychomatic Research (Sep 1999):

One's attitude about oneself, and the treatment one receives from others, might be affected, in some small but measurable way, by stigmatic or salutary labeling due to one's name. If names affect attitudes and attitudes affect longevity, then individuals with “positive” initials (e.g., A.C.E., V.I.P.) might live longer than those with “negative” initials (e.g., P.I.G., D.I.E.). Using California death certificates, 1969–1995, we isolated 2287 male decedents with “negative” initials and 1200 with “positive” initials. Males with positive initials live 4.48 years longer (p<0.0001), whereas males with negative initials die 2.80 years younger (p<0.0001) than matched controls. The longevity effects are smaller for females, with an increase of 3.36 years for the positive group (p<0.0001) and no decrease for the negative. Positive initials are associated with shifts away from causes of death with obvious psychological components (such as suicides and accidents), whereas negative initials are associated with shifts toward these causes. However, nearly all disease categories display an increase in longevity for the positive group and a decrease for the negative group. These findings cannot be explained by the effects of death cohort artifacts, gender, race, year of death, socioeconomic status, or parental neglect.

San Francisco Examiner - Mar 28, 1998

     Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 05, 2018
     Category: Odd Names | Science | Psychology

Not too many names begin with U. The Dick Van Dyke episode where his son wants to know about the origin of his middle name Rosebud comes to mind.
Posted by ges on 09/05/18 at 07:41 AM
Somebody should have told Wendy O. Williams this ...
Posted by Dr. Fian on 09/05/18 at 08:50 AM
I'm not buying it. However, The Doctor's point about Wendy O. Williams reminds me that I haven't thought about her in many a year. She appeared to be a troubled soul.
Posted by KDP on 09/06/18 at 12:26 AM
It doesn't look stastically very sound, does it?
Posted by Richard Bos on 09/09/18 at 04:46 AM
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