Link Between Anxiety and Risky Behaviour

A recent study by researchers at Purdue University has identified that personality consistent with chronic worrying can lead to earlier death.

The study finds that individuals exhibiting symptoms of chronic worrying are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors.

According to researcher Daniel K Mroczek a professor of child and family studies at Purdue University, higher levels of neuroticism (excessive worry or depression) leads to higher mortality as individuals showing these symptoms tend to engage in unhealthy behaviors like smoking and drinking and these behaviors reduce their life span.

This study is a reminder that high levels of some personality traits can be hazardous to ones physical health .

The study had hypothsized that neurotic personality traits would be related to smoking and heavy drinking, ie, a person with high neuroticism is likely to consume cigarettes or alcoholic drinks to self-medicate for the depression or anxiety being experienced. For this purpose they collected data from 1,788 men about their smoking behavior and personality traits over a 30 year period from 1975 to 2005.

The researchers found that smoking had 25 to 40 percent association with high neuroticism and mortality. Researchers feel this finding provides insight into how such behaviours can be tackled. If programs were to target people with high neuroticism than the likelihood of success in reducing smoking and other health impacting activities would be higher.


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