A new study has revealed that a person's close friend can predict how long his or her friend will live by estimating their personality traits.
The study by Washington University in St. Louis demonstrated that your personality at an early age (20s) could predict how long people will live across 75 years and that close friends are usually better than them at recognizing these traits.
Male participants seen by their friends as more open and conscientious ended up living longer. Female participants whose friends rated them as high on emotional stability and agreeableness also enjoyed longer lifespans, the study found.
It's no secret that a person's personality traits can have an impact on health. Traits such as depression and anger have been linked to an increased risk of various diseases and health concerns, including an early death.
Men who are conscientious are more likely to eat right, stick with an exercise routine and avoid risks, such as driving without a seat belt. Women who are emotionally stable might be better at fighting off anger, anxiety and depression, Joshua Jackson, PhD, suggested.
The study also revealed some gender differences in self-assessment: Men's self-ratings of personality traits were somewhat useful in predicting their lifespans, whereas the self-report of women had little predictive value.
Jackson suggested this gender difference in self-reporting may be a function of the era in which the study began, since societal expectations were different then and fewer women worked outside the home.
The study is published in the journal Psychological Science.