The research, which will be published later this year, contradicts another study published yesterday in the US showing there is no difference in the lifespans of left and right-handed people.
The American investigation looked at nearly 4,000 people over the age of 65 and recorded all deaths over a period of six years. The researchers, from the US National Institute on Aging, found the risk of death was the same for left- and right-handers.
However, psychologists at Durham University analysed the lifespans of about 3,000 bowlers listed in the Who's Who of Cricketers, which describes first-class players from 1864 to 1983. They found that left-handed bowlers had an average lifespan of 63.5 years, compared with 65.5 years of their right-handed colleagues.
They also looked at the percentage of players born between 1880 and 1950 who were still alive: right-handers were more likely than left-handers to have survived and left-handers were more likely to have died suddenly. John Aggleton, a senior lecturer in psychology at Durham, said the results were 'highly significant' and could not have been due to chance alone. 'Left-handers are more likely to die prematurely or accidentally,' he said. 'There is definitely something going on.'
The researchers found that a greater proportion of the left- handed cricketers died suddenly in early life. Because the study period included both world wars, many died in combat.
Their study concluded: 'The most likely explanation for the increase in accidental death among the left-handed men concerns their need to cope with a world full of right-handed tools, machines and instruments.'
Other scientists, however, have criticised similar studies because they have failed to take into account the pre-war tradition of forcing naturally left-handed children to become right handers. This could make it appear that right-handed people have an advantage and live longer.Reuse content