By Joene Hendry
Striving for emotional stability and a conscientious and active lifestyle "can reduce health risks, increase life satisfaction, and significantly extend life," Dr. Antonio Terracciano told Reuters Health.
Terracciano, from the National Institute on Ageing, a division of the National Institutes of Health, in Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues assessed personality traits among 2 359 generally healthy people who, in 1958, enrolled in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Ageing.
The researchers used these data, collected when participants were between 17 and 98 years old, to assess links between specific personality traits and the lifespan of the 943 participants who died during the 50-year study.
Their findings, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, show men and women who scored above average in measures of general activity, emotional stability, or conscientiousness lived on average two to three years longer than those who scored below average.