Predictive Personality

Previous studies suggest that self-rated personality traits predict risk of death.  Joshua J. Jackson, from Washington University in St. Louis (Missouri, USA), and colleagues explored whether a person’s friends may better perceive personality characteristics that predict death risks.  Analyzing personality data from the 75-year long Kelly/Connolly Longitudinal Study on Personality and Aging, which observed 600 men and women, in their twenties at the study’s start, beginning in 1935 and ending in 2013.  Data analysis revealed that the men who rated highly conscientious, as determined from the averaged reports of five close friends, lived longer than men rated as less so. For women, agreeableness and emotional stability were associated with longer lifespans. Observing that: “Friends’ ratings were better predictors of longevity than were self-reports of personality, in part because friends’ ratings could be aggregated to provide a more reliable assessment,” the study authors submit that: “Our findings demonstrate the utility of observers’ reports in the study of health and provide insights concerning the pathways by which personality traits influence health.”

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