Personality and Health May Have Genetic Link

the MPR take:

Is there a genetic link between personality and health? In a new study 121 healthy adults ages 18–59 with an average BMI of 23 underwent personality measurement using the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), which measures personality dimensions of Extraversion, Neuroticism, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. Participants also indicated their typical smoking, drinking, and exercise behaviors plus current medication use. Gene expression values were measured from participant blood samples. Systematic differences in leukocyte gene expression were found to correlate with individual differences in Extraversion and Conscientiousness, with Extraversion associated with up-regulated expression of pro-inflammatory genes and Conscientiousness with down-regulated expression of pro-inflammatory genes, independent of age, sex, and race. Antiviral and antibody-related gene expression was not associated with any of the personality dimensions. It is unknown if the expression of genes that impact health influence personality traits or vice versa and the authors caution that these results do not support the concept of a “disease-prone personality.” Rather, this research may serve as a support for previously observed associations between personality and physical health.

Researchers have found new evidence that explains how some aspects of our personality may affect our health and wellbeing, supporting long-observed associations between aspects of human character, physical health and longevity. A team of health psychologists at The University of Nottingham and ...