Neurotic men likely to die earlier, says new US report

Mellow men live longer, according to o new research from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana in the US.

“We found that neurotic men whose levels (of neurosis) dropped over time had a better chance at living longer,” said Dan Mroczek, an associate professor of child development and family studies at Purdue

“They seemed to recover from any damage high levels of the trait may have caused. On the flip side, neurotic men whose neuroticism increased over time died much sooner than their peers.”

Researchers defined a neurotic personality as “a person with the tendency to worry, feel excessive amounts of anxiety or depression and to react to stressful life events more negatively than people with low levels of the trait.”

While researchers tracked 1,663 men — more than 90 per cent of whom were white — for 12 years, Mroczek believes the results would be similar for women or other ethnicities.

“You can find the full range of personalities in any ethnic or gender group,” he said. “There are those who are laid-back and then there are those who worry, who react very poorly to stress, who are always on edge.” Mroczek suspects a contributing factor behind early death in neurotic men may be high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Later this year, he will study the link.

The study’s results will be published in the Psychological Science in late May.