Monday, February 22, 2010

The Influence of Personality Traits on Longevity

This article shows the people who have even tempers and outgoing personality live longevity with good health. In April 2009, the team led by Thomas Perls, a director of New England Centenarian Study, began researches on the personality traits of 246 offspring of centenarians. Based on the ‘NEO-Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) questionnaire,’ they attempted to find out whether they have ‘neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.’ As a result, there were big differences of personality traits between men and women; however, both had less nervous and high outgoing personalities, which help to prevent heart disease and high blood pressure.

In August 2009, Daniel K. Mroczek, a professor of child development and family studies at Purdue University proved that one’s personality affects the health. He researched through 1,788 health data from 1975 to 2005; According to his study, a natural born worriers, short-tempered, or melancholiacs had much shorter lifespan, due to the fact they smoke, drink, and take drugs more than relaxed people since they need to handle their emotions.

In addition, it was recently proved that stresses, such as physical stress and emotional stress, arouses disease. Tian Xu, the leader of the Yale team recently announced that they discovered the stress develops tumors and it leads to the development of cancer. I also have seen a person who had neurotic personality. She was a person who worried too much about her children’s’ future, even though they were all grown-ups. She devoted her whole life to taking care of her family. As the increases of her concerns, she suffered from frequent stomachache; soon, she died of stomach cancer.

Professor Perls also mentions that people who have outgoing personalities easily make friends and take care of themselves very well; therefore, it highly benefits for senescent people. Also, he said that it is necessary to actively live, since the genes are passed from parents to children.

1 comment:

ejoseph said...

Living long and strong is not deciphered by luck anymore. In Boston, researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine have studied Centenarians, or people living 100+ years. They have noticed that personality traits that are inherent centenarian’s children are associated with “healthy aging and longevity.”

Previous research states that families with exceptional life spans run heavily in their offspring. “Offspring of centenarians showed that their mortality is 120 percent lower than other members of their birth cohort.” They also have less health problems like cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes mellitus, including delayed onsets. Conclusions of this study show certain inherent personality traits affect healthy aging.

According to the NEO-Five-Factor Inventory researchers found out that offspring of centenarians scored low in the neuroticism and high in extraversion. Women scored high in agreeableness but both sexes scored average in conscientiousness and openness factors. Its interesting that the offspring of centenarians all have similar personality traits, considering men and women are very distinct in society. Gender seems to have nothing to do with personality, just inherent traits?

According to this study centenarians seem to be very easy going people. Level headed, considering they are low in neuroticism and acting on impulse would be lower. Does this mean that they live a better quality of life, necessarily? Are they lacking a life full of passion and spontaneity? Personally I can tell you from this study that I will probably not be living to 120. Do I feel upset, or frustrated at all? Not really, my life is chaotic and spontaneous and I would never trade anything for that. There is the down side (or is it the upside) that there are peaks of extreme ecstasy and points of stressed out moments, but resilience is a learned trait.