Recently, various studies have indicated that people’s personality profiles in midlife can predict whether or not they are likely to enjoy long lives.
However, personality traits change and adapt throughout a person’s life, and this may happen due to various factors that, in themselves, relate to mortality risk.
For this reason, a team of researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, the American Institute for Research in Washington DC, and the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana decided to look at personality traits during adolescence, to see whether these could be used as predictors of mortality risk instead.
The researchers analyzed the adaptive personality traits of thousands of people who were high school students in 1960 and then looked for links between these traits and lifespans of the individuals.
A study paper — whose first author is Benjamin Chapman from the University of Rochester Medical Center — appeared yesterday in The BMJ and reports the findings in detail.
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The research team worked with data collected via the Project Talent Study, a United States-based, nationwide study of high school students.
For the current study, the researchers looked at information for students of 1,226 U.S. high schools in 1960, which made up about 5 percent of all U.S. high schools at the time.
In total, the authors had access to the data of 377,016 students who were between 13 and 18 years old at baseline, and who had completed numerous psychological tests and questionnaires over a period of 2 days, or 4 half days.