Tuesday, September 4, 2007

football players, rockers, and the SES gradient

a journal of epidemiology and community health study shows high rates of early death among musicians. the sample was drawn from the ranks of especially successful musicians -- those playing on the top 1000 best-selling albums. i'd hypothesize that a comparison of musicians and non-musicians in a sample taken from the general population would reveal much smaller differences. that is, casual or frustrated rockers likely live longer than successful rockers.

one might make sense of this in terms of exposure to risk factors such as substance use, stds, and roadfood. where else might one expect a positive relationship between professional success and mortality? certainly one sees high rates of early death and health problems among professional football players and wrestlers, due in part to weight-related ailments.

kids still grow up dreaming about becoming rock stars and pro football players, of course, but i would imagine that their fallback/safety jobs are almost always better for their long-term health. if one buys the argument that the most serious and persistent criminal offenders are most likely to be incarcerated, mike massoglia's work has shown a similar gradient for deviant work: those incarcerated as young adults are subject to serious health deficits by midlife.

for a morbid take on the musician/health study, you might try the which dead rock star are you? quiz. according to said quiz, i share certain characteristics with the deceased king of rock and roll pictured above.

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