SATURDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Being both neurotic and
conscientious may be good for your health.
That's the finding from University of Rochester Medical Center
researchers investigating how psychosocial factors such as
personality traits affect health.
Conscientiousness is characterized as being organized,
responsible and hardworking.
Neuroticism is typically marked by being moody, nervous and a
worrier, and is linked to hostility, depression, and excessive
drinking and smoking.
But this study of more than 1,000 people found that those with
moderate to high levels of both neuroticism and conscientiousness
tended to have the lowest levels of a type of protein molecule
called interleukin 6 (IL-6).
High levels of IL-6 indicate the presence of inflammation linked
to chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, asthma,
arthritis, diabetes and some cancers.
These neurotic yet conscientious people also had lower body mass
index scores -- a measure of body fat -- and fewer diagnosed
chronic health conditions, according to the study published online
recently in the journal
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
"These people are likely to weigh the consequences of their
actions, and therefore their level of neuroticism coupled with
conscientiousness probably stops them from engaging in risky
behaviors," study author Nicholas Turiano, a postdoctoral fellow in
the psychiatry department, said in a university news release.
It's likely that the combination of neuroticism and
conscientiousness also compels people to seek treatment when they
have health problems, he added.
"Future studies will try to figure out who are the healthy
neurotics and why they are healthier," Turiano said. "Eventually,
the clinical application might allow us to identify patients at
high risk for chronic inflammation, and therefore have an increased
risk of health problems and death."
While the study found an association between certain personality
traits and health status, it did not prove a cause-and-effect
The American Heart Association has more about
inflammation and heart disease.
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