New research shows what type of personality promotes health and longevity.
It is fair to say that everyone wants to live a long life, but it is better to live a healthier life. Most people understand what they want to do to accomplish this goal, but they do not always follow the advice of their internal guidelines. Exercising early in the morning, sipping on a donut during a coffee break, or serving a glass of extra wine during a particularly tasty meal is not easy. Sometimes you follow what the health specialists preach, and you can oppose these tests without any difficulty. Your eye is focused on the gift of a long and healthy life, a goal you believe you can have under your control.
Researchers in behavioral medicine and health have recognized decades ago that personality factors must be taken into account when determining the factors that influence long lifestyles. The field began with classical, incomplete but “behavioral” studies of today, and found that hard-driving, impatient, performance-oriented, and super-busy people were at increased risk for heart disease. -back Type B colleagues. Researchers are continually expanding on the associated personality and behavioral patterns, and the latest approach is for the “Type D”, which means people who suppress their negative emotions and prevent recovery from a cardiovascular event.
The latest research in health-personality has solved the problem by studying more than 131,000 cross-national sample samples from different groups in Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Marcus Jokela and colleagues at the University of Helsinki, Finland (2019), analyzed this tourism-power analysis of personality’s relationship with health performance outcomes, also known as the “ocean” model: openness, experience, conscience, Extraction, Consensus, and Neuroticism.
According to a group of Finnish-led researchers, previous evidence suggests a link between personality differences and the ultimate measure of health and death risk. For example, people with a conscience have a 14% higher mortality rate because of their low self-control, lack of planning, and general irresponsibility “leading to unhealthy life choices and risks” (p. 1). The other four factors have weak associations, but all are in the expected direction.
Although mortality risk is now well documented, Jokela and his fellow researchers believe that life expectancy can be improved by quantifying personality traits using an “absolute demographic metric”. In other words, the mortality rate is influenced by the age of the samples, but the life expectancy is taken into account by age (a risk factor for mortality). In addition, the authors note, mortality or even life expectancy tells only part of the story.
You don’t need to grow old, you want to live without disease and disability. “Long life is very valuable, but healthy and fully functional long life is even more valuable” (p. 2). To be able to link the dots between personality, life expectancy, and disability-free years, Jokela and his fellow researchers need to take a long-term approach and look at the long-term comebacks associated with basic measures of personality. Long-term follow-up after 22 years (average of 7.2 years) included daily living activity (ADL) as an assessment of disability among survivors of these relapses. Researchers linked the data with the mortality data of the study’s progressive years.
Although these broad datasets were available to them, the research team was able to analyze survival by predicting both mortality and disability from those basic personality scores. As you might expect, researchers wanted to control lifestyle factors such as excessive drinking, physical inactivity, body mass index, and education in the personality-death-disability relationship.
Supporting the role of personality in life expectancy and disability-free years, key findings from survival analyzes supported the role of personality as an effect on life expectancy and, most importantly, on healthy life expectancy. Conscientious people who scored the lowest score usually lived six years shorter than their more caring and faster counterparts and were also disabled in the last two years of their lives. Increasing the scale of conscientiousness, each increase in these characteristics was associated with longer life expectancy and years of lower disability.
Looking at the total population, the authors concluded that the life expectancy of the general population would be 1.3 years longer if everyone in their countries was above conscience; Most importantly, most of that time (one year) is spent without a disability. The other personality trait that emerges as a predictor of a healthy life was neuroticism, however only for those at the far end of the scale. What about those lifestyle factors? Smoking, physique mass ratio, and low physical activity can account for 25% of the effect of conscience on life expectancy. The sad news is that if you leave the lifestyle department laziness, your life will be shortened and your disability will increase. However, on another hand, if you are forced to adopt healthy habits, you can partially offset the negative
negative effects on your well-being and longevity. As the authors conclude, “we assume that multiple health risks and risky behaviors accumulate at the lower end of the conscience distribution” (p. 8). For this at the very top of the neuroticism scale, the authors suggest that “severe mental disorders may be one of the mechanisms of intervention.” This leads to many years of disability-free (p. 8) physical and mental health.
The last part of the question is whether the problem of causation and the factors associated with low life expectancy are determined by personality or whether poor health habits lead to negative personality changes. However, the authors were able to exclude disability as the cause of personality differences by performing a series of retrospective comparisons between the living and the dead. The lack of answers is a common genetic or environmental factor for both poor health and short life expectancy as well as less adaptive personality traits. This is a question that needs to be addressed in future research.
In summary, regardless of the causal direction, the findings highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You may feel that your personality is the same and cannot be changed, so it is a joke of fate to develop life-threatening health conditions based on where you continue to fall into conscience and neuroticism.