More Conscious People Live Longer

A groundbreaking study conducted by scientists at the University of Limerick in Ireland has shown that people who can be defined as more conscientious live longer on average than others. This is because they have lower concentrations of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin 6 in their blood, which means their immune system is better protected. The results were published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

Personality is known to have a strong influence on a person's health and, as a consequence, on life expectancy. For example, it has been shown that less conscientious people (those with a low propensity for responsibility, organization, and self-control) have a 40% higher risk of death compared to participants with a higher conscience score. However, it is unclear what biological mechanisms underlie this dependence.

The researchers set out to find out whether two biological markers of the immune system, interleukin 6 and C-reactive protein, could explain why personality traits are associated with the risk of death. The study was based on data from 957 participants who were examined over 14 years.

As a result, the researchers found that part of the reason why conscientious and conscientious people live longer is because of a strong immune system, and low concentrations of interleukin 6 in particular. This chemical is a marker of inflammation in the body that accelerates the aging process and increases the risk of premature death. There are probably other biological mechanisms yet to be discovered. In the future, their discovery will provide a clearer picture of all the different ways in which personality traits influence health.

Feb. 18, 2021, 2:14 p.m.

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