Objective: To determine whether the longevity of England test cricketers is influenced by occupational success, controlling for the influence of social background.
Design: Archival survey.
Subjects: Those 418 cricketers who played for England in a test match from the first test in 1876 to 1963 when the distinction between amateur and professional status was removed.
Main outcome measures: Length of life.
Results: Survival analysis of players born between 1827 and 1941 (349 dead, 69 alive) showed a significant relation between mortality and year of birth (p<0.001), amateur/professional status (p = 0.042) and the number of test matches played (p = 0.042). Captaining England was not related to survival.
Conclusion: The link between longevity and both social background and occupational success is supported among test match cricketers. Amateur (or “gentlemen”) cricketers from more privileged social backgrounds survived longer than professionals (or “players”). The most successful cricketers who played in a larger number of tests lived longer than those who played in a smaller number of tests. Captaining England, which could be regarded as a form of occupational “control”, was not associated with longevity.
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Competing interests None.