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We we all know that lifestyle factors can play a big role in how long you are likely to live. Obesity, smoking, not getting enough exercise, and genetics certainly have an impact on long-term health and mortality, but research has also identified less obvious factors that seem to play a role as well.
While we all differ widely in terms of personality, it was only in recent years that psychologists have learned that specific traits such as conscientiousness can have an importtant influence on disease and life expectancy. Usually defined as being "very careful about doing what you are supposed to do or being concerned with doing something correctly", conscientiousness is often linked to qualities such as vigilance and efficiency.
One of the main traits in the Five Factor Model of Personality, conscientiousness is linked to goal-direction and being less likely to give in to spontaneous impulses. That can be important when it comes to sticking to a regular exercise schedule or diet as well as avoiding unhealthy lifestyle choices such as drinking or smoking. It is probably not surprising that the link between conscientiousness and health has been confirmed by numerous studies over the years.
To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.
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