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Happy people 'more likely to live longer'

Published on 28 May 2012 11:30 AM

A new report suggests that adults who reach almost 100 years old or older are more likely to be those that have a positive mental outlook on life.

American researchers conducted a study of 243 centenarians and discovered that the majority were optimistic and good-natured. It is thought that the positive traits of a person's character could partly be down to their genes.

Around 500-plus Ashkenazi Jews who were 95-years-old and over, as well as 700 of their children, were analysed as part of the Longevity Genes Project. Three in four of the participants were female and the median age of the group was 97.6.

The findings - published in the newest edition of the journal Aging - revealed that those in the study group had fewer scores in relation to 'neurotic personality' when compared with a sample of people representing the rest of the population. Researchers discovered their scores for the conscientious trait were also higher.

Lead scientist Nir Barzilai, said: 'When I started working with centenarians, I thought we'd find that they survived so long in part because they were mean and ornery.

'But when we assessed the personalities of these 243 centenarians, we found qualities that clearly reflect a positive attitude towards life.'

Dr Barzilai, who is also the director of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's Institute for Aging Research in New York, added: 'Most were outgoing, optimistic and easygoing. They considered laughter an important part of life and had a large social network. They expressed emotions openly rather than bottling them up.'

Copyright Press Association 2012


Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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