Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Thursday 26 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
# Science
Are you neurotic? Then you're at a higher risk of dying sooner
A new study from NUI Galway has linked the personality trait with a greater risk of death.

A NEW STUDY has pointed to links in how a person’s personality traits can predict their death in old age.

A team from NUI Galway drew on data collected from the Berlin Aging Study which examined 417 adults between the ages of 70 and 100 over a 19-year period to 2009.

The aim of the research was to test if traits of neuroticism, extraversion and openness to experience had any effect on a person’s mortality.

Dr Páraic Ó Súilleabháin and Professor Brian Hughes from the school of psychology found that people who ranked higher for the personality trait of neuroticism were at a distinctly greater risk of death than those within the average or lower ranges of neuroticism.

Those who were more neurotic – the trait that accounts for an individual’s tendency to experience negative emotions and display emotional instability – experienced a greater impact on a number of factors.

The researchers said that they found that “neuroticism impacted the effects of a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living in old age (functional status)” and that it also affected angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) a central component of the system which controls our blood pressure.

They said: “Functional status is a critical marker for the deterioration of health in old age, while ACE is a critical enzyme in a variety of diseases, most notably cardiovascular disease.”

Dr Ó Súilleabháin said that research such as theirs is vital because, by the year 2020, one in five Europeans will be over the age of 65.

He said: “It is critical for future research to address the impact of neuroticism on the deterioration of health in old age, with a particular emphasis on its effects on cardiovascular disease.”

Related Tags


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel