There are no other studies on the massive scale and duration of Grossarth-Maticeks work but one long-term study which extended over thirty years was done by George Vaillant of Harvard University (Vaillant 1977). He extensively interviewed 268 Sophomores from classes of 1939 to 1944 and judged the quality of their adjustment to life by the defence mechanisms they habitually used. Good adult adjustment meant that the subject used mature defence mechanisms like altruism, humour, suppression, anticipation and sublimation. Bad adjustment meant they used immature, neurotic, or psychotic mechanisms like repression or projection. Thirty years after the original interviews, in 1975, the subjects were interviewed again and their relative success was compared to their placement on the adult adjustment scale.
Amazingly strong correlations were found to their level of happiness and also to their mental and physical health. Only one of the top thirty scorers had a chronic illness while half of the thirty worst outcomes were either dead or suffering from chronic illness. Here was a fifteen to one variation in good health predicted by a test on habitual defence mechanisms. Healthy defence mechanisms lead to good physical health while unhealthy ones can kill you. Another strong correlation to good health was found when the subjects ability to love and form close human connections was considered. Forty-six percent of the men classified as "lonely" had chronic physical illnesses by age 52, while only four percent of the "friendly" men had such problems.
Some of the questions now incorporated in the self-regulation index were derived from earlier experiments (see Grossarth-Maticek 1985). They have also been adapted by Charles Speilberger of University of South Florida into a Rationality/emotional defensiveness test. This test was used by Rocio Fernandez-Ballesteros of University of Madrid. She gave the test to 210 students, 122 healthy women, 122 women with benign breast disease and 122 women with breast cancer. The percent of each of these groups scoring above 3.1 on the test was 11.4%, 12%, 11.9% and 88.3%. More than seven times as many women with breast cancer got high rationality scores than any of the other groups. See Fernandez-Ballestros 1997.
Everson 1996 tested 2428 42-60 year-old men for helplessness and found a three-fold increase in risk of death 6 years later for the men with high helplessness scores. Eliminating the subjects who had serious chronic diseases at the beginning of the study gave a 6:1 mortality ratio between high scores and low.
In another study Anda 1993 tested 2832 45-77 year-old adults. Twelve years later, when standard risk factors were corrected out, the people with the highest hopelesness scores were 3.8 times more likely to suffer from heart disease than those with the lowest scores.
The data gathered on this web site will be used as a replication experiment in 5-10 years time.Test scores will be correlated to health status.
Knekt et al 1996 gave a depression test to 7018 Finns aged 30 or over and then did a health follow-up 14 years later. They found a strong connection between lung cancer and the depression score among smokers. Smoking increased risk of lung cancer by 3.38X for the lowest 1/3 scores (least depressed) but by 6.16X for the middle third and 12.00X for the top third (most depressed.) They did not find a correlation with other cancers. The test included some hopelessness questions but also many other symptoms different from the Grossarth-Maticek tests.
Copyright © 1997 Thomas R. Blakeslee. All rights reserved. Revised: November 23, 2003.