No evidence of "healthy neuroticism" in Hawaii Personality and Health Cohort

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Description: Background. Heterogeneity in the effects of trait neuroticism on mortality has inspired recent theories of “healthy neuroticism,” or the possibility that neuroticism can lead people down either healthy or unhealthy behavioral pathways. The logical extension of this theory is that some construct – perhaps another trait, financial resource or health-relevant situation – changes the relationship between neuroticism and health. The other possibility is that different components of neuroticism lead to different health behaviors, and therefore different outcomes. Purpose. The current study systematically examines the relationship between child and adult neuroticism and various health indicators including perceptions of health, behaviors, health outcomes and biomarkers of health. Finally, we examine both potential moderators of the associations with neuroticism and examine its facet-structure. Methods. The current study utilizes data from the Hawaii Longitudinal Study of Personality and Health, which includes both adult (IPIP-NEO) and childhood (teacher-reported) measures of personality and SES, as well as a variety of health outcomes, from self-reported health and health behavior to biological markers, such as cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Sample sizes range from 299 to 518. Results. The relationship between neuroticism and health was not consistently moderated by any other variable, nor were facets of neuroticism differentially related to health. Conclusions. Despite a systematic investigation of the potential “paths” which may differentiate the relationship of neuroticism to health, no evidence of healthy neuroticism was found.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

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