Neuroticism, extraversion, and mortality in the UK Health and Lifestyle Survey: A 21-year prospective cohort study

Beverly Shipley, Alexander Weiss, Geoff Der, Michelle D. Taylor, Ian J. Deary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To examine the influence of neuroticism and extraversion on all-cause and cause-specific mortality over 21 years after controlling for risk factors. Methods: Participants were members of the Health and Lifestyle Survey, a British nationwide sample survey of 9003 adults. At baseline (1984 to 1985), individuals completed a sociodemographic and health questionnaire, underwent physical health examination, and completed the Eysenck Personality Inventory. Mortality was assessed for 21 years after baseline. A total of 5424 individuals had complete data. Results: After controlling for age and gender, 1-standard deviation (SD) increase in neuroticism was related to 9% (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.09; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 1.03-1.16) increased risk of mortality from all causes. The association was nonsignificant (HR = 1.05; 95% CI = 0.99-1.11) after additionally controlling for occupational social class, education, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and health. There was 12% (HR = 1.12; 95% CI = 1.03-1.21) increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease associated with 1-SD increase in neuroticism. This was still significant after adjustment. When the sample was divided into 40- to 59-year-olds and those >= 60 years, neuroticism remained a significant risk for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality; associations were nonsignificant after controlling for all covariates. Neuroticism was not associated with deaths from stroke, respiratory disease, lung cancer, or other cancers. Extraversion was protective of death from respiratory disease (HR = 0.84; 95% CI = 0.70-1.00). Conclusions: After controlling for several risk factors, high neuroticism was significantly related to risk of death from cardiovascular disease. The effects of neuroticism on death from cardiovascular disease may be mediated by sociodemographic, health behavior, and physiological factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-931
Number of pages9
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Volume69
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • neuroticism
  • extraversion
  • Eysenck Personality Inventory
  • mortality
  • cardiovascular disease
  • social class
  • CHILDHOOD MENTAL-ABILITY
  • ALL-CAUSE MORTALITY
  • PHYSICAL HEALTH
  • PERSONALITY-CHARACTERISTICS
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS
  • LONGITUDINAL FINDINGS
  • PREDICT LONGEVITY
  • POPULATION
  • DEPRESSION
  • ANXIETY

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