Self-rated personality traits and ratings by others effectively predicted mortality risk, according to Washington University’s Joshua J. Jackson, working with James J. Connolly and Madeleine M. Leveille of Connolly Consulting to collaborate with Vanderbilt University’s S. Mason Garrison and Touro University Seamus L. Connolly.
In fact, and friends’ ratings were even better predictors of longevity than were self-reports of personality,
The team used 75 years of data beginning in 1935 from Kelly/Connolly Longitudinal Study on Personality and Aging (KCLS), along with mortality information across 75 years, developed by University of Michigan’s E. Lowell Kelly and James J. Conley.
Both study participants and their close friends rated volunteers’ personality traits, “Big Five” traits—conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism and openness—described by NIH’s Robert McCrae and Paul Costa.
Male participants seen by their friends as more conscientious and open lived longer, whereas friend-rated emotional stability and agreeableness predicted longevity for women.
Men’s self-ratings of personality traits were somewhat accurate predictors of lifespan, but not women’s self-reports.
Jackson’s group noted that friends’ ratings were more reliable predictors because multiple evaluations were aggregated rather than relying on a single self-rating.
In addition, “…friends may see something that you miss; they may have some insight that you do not….people may be biased or miss certain aspects of themselves and we are not able to counteract that because there is only one you, only one self-report.”
Comparing self-reports with multi-rater reports, University of Pennsylvania’s Angela Duckworth and David Scott Yeager of University of Texas Austin concluded that “…each approach is imperfect in its own way.”
These findings reinforce the importance of multi-rater feedback to provide insight into long-standing personality trends affecting health status.
This increased self-awareness can help people increase conscientious self-care, optimism, agreeableness, and calm stability to enhance long term health status.
-*How have you helped others improve health status by modifying personality styles?
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