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Personality Predictors of Longevity

Title: Personality Predictors of Longevity: Activity, Emotional Stability, and Conscientiousness.
Name(s): Terracciano, Antonio, author
Löckenhoff, Corinna, author
Zonderman, Alan, author
Ferrucci, Luigi, author
Costa, Paul, author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: serial
Date Issued: 2008
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between personality traits and longevity. METHODS: Using the Guilford-Zimmerman Temperament Survey, personality traits were assessed in 2359 participants (38% women; age = 17 to 98 years, mean = 50 years) from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, starting in 1958. Over the duration of the study, 943 (40%) participants died, on average 18 years after their personality assessment. The association of each trait with longevity was examined by Cox regression controlling for demographic variables. RESULTS: In preliminary analyses among the deceased, those who scored 1 standard deviation (SD) above the mean on General Activity (a facet of Extraversion), Emotional Stability (low Neuroticism), or Conscientiousness lived on average 2 to 3 years longer than those scoring 1 SD below the mean. Survival analyses on the full sample confirmed the association of General Activity, Emotional Stability, and Conscientiousness with lower risk of death, such that every 1-SD increase was related to about 13%, 15%, and 27% risk reduction, respectively. The association of personality traits with longevity was largely independent from the influence of smoking and obesity. Personality predictors of longevity did not differ by sex, except for Ascendance (a facet of Extraversion). Emotional Stability was a significant predictor when the analyses were limited to deaths due to cardiovascular disease, with comparable effect sizes for General Activity and Conscientiousness. CONCLUSIONS: In a large sample of generally healthy individuals followed for almost five decades, longevity was associated with being conscientious, emotionally stable, and active.
Identifier: FSU_migr_geriatrics_faculty_publications-0029 (IID), 10.1097/PSY.0b013e31817b9371 (DOI)
Keywords: neuroticism, activity, health, mortality, longevity, personality, smoking, obesity
Uncontrolled subjects: Adaptation, Psychological, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Aging, Baltimore, Emotions, Female, Health Surveys, Humans, Longevity, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Motor Activity, Personality, Personality Inventory, Predictive Value of Tests, Sex Distribution, Survival Analysis, Temperament
Note: Published in final edited form as:'>"> Psychosom Med. 2008 July; 70(6): 621–627. Published online 2008 July 2. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e31817b9371'>">10.1097/PSY.0b013e31817b9371
Citation: Terracciano A, Loeckenhoff CE, Zonderman AB, Ferrucci L, & Costa PT Jr. (2008). Personality predictors of longevity: Activity, Emotional Stability, and Conscientiousness. Psychosomatic Medicine, 70, 621-627.
Subject(s): Human behavior
Mental health
Medical sciences
Social aspects
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU
Is Part of Series: Department of Geriatrics Faculty Publications.
Is Part Of: Psychosomatic Medicine.
Issue: 6, 70

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Terracciano, A., Löckenhoff, C., Zonderman, A., Ferrucci, L., & Costa, P. (2008). Personality Predictors of Longevity: Activity, Emotional Stability, and Conscientiousness. Psychosomatic Medicine. Retrieved from