When you first saw this topic, you might have been as confused as I was when I heard about it. How could a baby’s initials have anything to do with mortality? As I looked into it a bit more, I realized that there actually could be a correlation between how long a person lives and what his name’s initials spell. Are you still skeptical? Here are some examples.

A study has been done on the death certificates of California individuals ranging from 1969 through 1995. They made a distinction between people with “positive” initials, such as A.C.E. or V.I.P. and those with “negative” initials like P.I.G. or D.I.E. In men, the ones with positive initials tended to live nearly four and a half years longer, while the ones with negative initials died nearly three years earlier than the control group. Not only that, but the negative ones had a higher association with death from psychological issues, such as suicide or accidents.

Without digging into the science of it too heavily, what this study means is that regardless of factors like gender, race, and socioeconomic status, people with positive initials end up living longer than those with negative initials. The effect is similar in women, though not quite as pronounced. The reason this phenomenon happens is because of how psychology forms a child’s attitudes early on. Kids with negative initials could come to develop a complex about themselves. Apparently, symbolic aspects of a person’s environment have a greater impact than we like to think.

If you’re like most people, you probably didn’t spend that much time worrying about your baby’s initials. Obviously, most of us never realized it could have such a long-term effect on our children. The next time you think about having a baby, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to try naming him with initials that are positive in nature. In this day and age, it’s nice to put as many advantages as possible on your child’s side, and maybe positive initials are all the boost he needs to live a long and happy life.

Source:  Christenfield, N, Phillips, D. P., & Glynn, L. M. (1999). What's In a Name: Mortality and the Power of Symbols. UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences.

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