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Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Sep 1;178(5):667-75. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt170. Epub 2013 Aug 1.

Personality and all-cause mortality: individual-participant meta-analysis of 3,947 deaths in 76,150 adults.

Author information

1
Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Siltavuorenpenger 1A, Helsinki, Finland. markus.jokela@helsinki.fi

Abstract

Personality may influence the risk of death, but the evidence remains inconsistent. We examined associations between personality traits of the five-factor model (extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience) and the risk of death from all causes through individual-participant meta-analysis of 76,150 participants from 7 cohorts (the British Household Panel Survey, 2006-2009; the German Socio-Economic Panel Study, 2005-2010; the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey, 2006-2010; the US Health and Retirement Study, 2006-2010; the Midlife in the United States Study, 1995-2004; and the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study's graduate and sibling samples, 1993-2009). During 444,770 person-years at risk, 3,947 participants (54.4% women) died (mean age at baseline = 50.9 years; mean follow-up = 5.9 years). Only low conscientiousness-reflecting low persistence, poor self-control, and lack of long-term planning-was associated with elevated mortality risk when taking into account age, sex, ethnicity/nationality, and all 5 personality traits. Individuals in the lowest tertile of conscientiousness had a 1.4 times higher risk of death (hazard ratio = 1.37, 95% confidence interval: 1.18, 1.58) compared with individuals in the top 2 tertiles. This association remained after further adjustment for health behaviors, marital status, and education. In conclusion, of the higher-order personality traits measured by the five-factor model, only conscientiousness appears to be related to mortality risk across populations.

KEYWORDS:

meta-analysis; mortality; personality; psychology; survival analysis

PMID:
23911610
PMCID:
PMC3755650
DOI:
10.1093/aje/kwt170
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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