Neurotic and Conscientious People Are Healthier

They also perform better in society, new study suggests

By on November 14th, 2012 21:21 GMT

More often than not, being neurotic is considered a social stigma, seeing how this condition is first and foremost linked to moodiness, nervousness, hostility and depression.

However, one specialist working with the University of Rochester Medical Center now claims that there is such a thing as “healthy neuroticism,” meaning that some of the personality traits often associated with being a neurotic can actually benefit an individual's physical wellbeing.

Interestingly enough, the investigations carried out by Nicholas A. Turiano, Ph.D., and his team showed that, in the case of neurotics who also happen to be conscientious (this being another personality trait linked to neuroticism), the risks of developing medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and some cancers were significantly lower.

Apparently, this was because said combination of neuroticism and conscientiousness translated into lower levels of Interleukin 6 (IL-6, for short), which is basically a biomarker for inflammation and chronic diseases.

Moreover, researcher Nicholas A. Turiano wished to emphasize the fact that, “These people are likely to weigh the consequences of their actions, and therefore their level of neuroticism coupled with conscientiousness probably stops them from engaging in risky behaviors.”

“Speculation is that healthy neurotics may be hyper-vigilant about their lifestyle and about seeking treatment when a problem arises. It’s their conscientiousness that guides their decisions to prevent disease or quickly get treatment when they don’t feel well,” he went on to add.

Because of these findings, said specialist believes that it is quite likely that neurotics who also happen to display signs of conscientiousness to both be healthier, and perform better in society, given the fact that they would be very organized and goal-oriented.

Still, “Future studies will try to figure out who are the healthy neurotics and why they are healthier,” specialist Nicholas A. Turiano explained.

As far as he is concerned, the findings of such studies could eventually help pin down the patients who run the risk of being affected by chronic inflammation with a higher degree of accuracy.

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