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When is higher neuroticism protective against premature death? Findings from UK Biobank

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1345-1357
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number9
Early online date13 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


We examined the association between Neuroticism and mortality in 321 456 people from UK Biobank and explored the influence of self-rated health on this relationship. After age- and sex-adjustment, a standard deviation increment in Neuroticism was associated with a 6% increase in all-cause mortality (hazard ratio = 1.06, 95% confidence interval = [1.03, 1.09]). After adjustment for other covariates, specifically self-rated health, higher Neuroticism was associated with an 8% reduction in all-cause mortality (hazard ratio = 0.92, 95% confidence interval = [0.89, 0.95]), and with reductions in mortality from cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease but not external causes. Further analyses revealed that higher Neuroticism was associated with lower mortality only in those with fair or poor self-rated health, and that higher scores on a Neuroticism facet related to worry and vulnerability were associated with lower mortality. Research into personality facet-mortality associations may elucidate mechanisms underlying Neuroticism’s covert protective association.

    Research areas

  • neuroticism, self-rated health , mortality, cohort study

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