Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Study: Personality Traits

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Study: Personality Traits

Article excerpt

Personality traits associated with chronic worrying can lead to earlier death, at least in part because people with these traits are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, according to research from Purdue University.

"Research shows that higher levels of neuroticism can lead to earlier mortality, and we wanted to know why," says Daniel K. Mroczek, a professor of child development and family studies. "We found that having worrying tendencies or being the kind of person who stresses easily is likely to lead to bad behaviors like smoking and, therefore, raise the mortality rate. This work is a reminder that high levels of some personality traits can be hazardous to one's physical health."

Chronic worrying, anxiety, and depression are key aspects of the personality trait of neuroticism. In this study, the researchers looked at how smoking and heavy drinking are associated with the trait. A person with high neuroticism may self-medicate with tobacco, alcohol, or drugs as a coping mechanism. Researchers found that smoking accounted for about 25-40% of the association between high neuroticism and mortality. …

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