That 'tude Can Kill You! How Your Personality Can Affect Your Health

A quick evaluation of your behavior and quirks could predict potential chronic conditions

Believe it or not, some of your most basic personality traits can determine your future health conditions, or lack thereof, say experts at Duke University.

Researchers gathered 1,000 participants from New Zealand and concluded the following:

•People who were labeled as “conscientious” (having traits of being self-disciplined and orderly) at the age of 26 were in better health 12 years down the road compared to the less orderly individuals.

•People who were labeled “least conscientious” (I’m guessing those without a worry in the world) were 45 percent more likely to develop a health condition (including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and gum disease) by their 38th birthday, compared to 18 percent of the “most conscientious."

•Those labeled as “openness to experience” (defined as being curious, imaginative and preferring variety to routine) were also healthier in the later years.

What’s also interesting is that the 1,000 study volunteers were given a personality assessment by two people — a spouse, relative or BFF, and then by a nurse or receptionist in a doctor’s office (a.k.a. a complete stranger). In most cases, the personality assessments matched, which the crew at Duke said could be a useful tool before a patient receives a check-up.

"Integrating personality measurement into primary care may be an inexpensive and accessible way to identify which young adults are in need of their doctors’ attention to promote a healthy lifestyle while they are yet young, in time to prevent disease onset," the researchers wrote in the March issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, as reported by Live Science.

These findings do make sense since conscientious people would more likely be extra-careful about their health and wellbeing. As for the “open” folks, researchers found a connection between being inquisitive and having a higher IQ, and brainier people are more likely to educate themselves about nutrition and lifestyle.

However, the one WTF conclusion in this study — those labeled with “the personality trait of neuroticism” were “not linked with future health.” So being anxious, moody and paranoid didn’t affect someone’s wellbeing? Well, being neurotic is kind of like a health condition to begin with, so…

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