To examine the influence of neuroticism
on all-cause and cause-specific mortality
over 21 years after controlling for risk factors.
Participants were members of the Health and Lifestyle Survey, a British nationwide sample survey of 9003 adults. At baseline (1984 to 1985), individuals completed a sociodemographic and health questionnaire, underwent physical health examination, and completed the Eysenck Personality Inventory
was assessed for 21 years after baseline. A total of 5424 individuals had complete data.
After controlling for age and gender, 1-standard deviation (SD) increase in neuroticism
was related to 9% (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.09; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 1.03–1.16) increased risk of mortality
from all causes. The association was nonsignificant (HR = 1.05; 95% CI = 0.99–1.11) after additionally controlling for occupational social class
, education, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and health. There was 12% (HR = 1.12; 95% CI = 1.03–1.21) increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease
associated with 1-SD increase in neuroticism
. This was still significant after adjustment. When the sample was divided into 40- to 59-year-olds and those ≥60 years, neuroticism
remained a significant risk for all-cause mortality
and cardiovascular disease mortality
; associations were nonsignificant after controlling for all covariates. Neuroticism
was not associated with deaths from stroke, respiratory disease, lung cancer, or other cancers. Extraversion
was protective of death from respiratory disease (HR = 0.84; 95% CI = 0.70– 1.00).
After controlling for several risk factors, high neuroticism
was significantly related to risk of death from cardiovascular disease
. The effects of neuroticism
on death from cardiovascular disease
may be mediated by sociodemographic, health behavior, and physiological factors.
EPI = Eysenck Personality Inventory; HR = hazard ratio; CI = Confidence Interval; HALS = Health and Lifestyle Survey; CVD = cardiovascular disease; CHD = coronary heart disease; BMI = body mass index; BP = blood pressure; FEV = forced expiratory volume.