Are you a happy, outgoing person, or are you more neurotic and anxious? The answer could have an effect on your happiness later on in life, according to a new study.
Researchers identified an association between being extroverted in young adulthood and having high life satisfaction and well-being later on in life. In addition, they found that neuroticism in young adulthood was associated with having lower well-being later in life because of increased susceptibility to mental stress.
The findings show that "personality in youth appears to have an enduring influence on happiness decades later," study researcher Dr. Catharine Gale, of the Medical Research Council's Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton, said in a statement. Gale conducted the study together with researchers from the University of Edinburgh and University College London.
The study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, included 4,583 people born in 1946 who were part of the National Survey for Health and Development. The study participants took a personality inventory at ages 16 and 26, which measured their extroverted qualities -- how much they liked activity, how energetic and sociable they were, etc. -- and their neurotic qualities -- how distractible and moody they were, as well as their emotional stability.
Then, when the study participants were between ages 60 and 64, researchers followed up with them again. By that time, 2,529 of the original participants answered questionnaires about their life satisfaction and well-being, as well as their mental and physical health. Researchers found that those who had more extroverted qualities during their assessment in young adulthood had better well-being during follow-up in their 60s. And those who had more neurotic qualities in young adulthood had worse well-being, which the researchers said was at least partly due to worse physical health and more psychological distress.
Of course, this isn't the first time having a happy outlook on life has been shown to be associated with healthy aging. ABC News reported on a study in the journal Aging, showing that a having positive attitude, being extroverted and being easygoing are all traits linked with longevity.
For more personality traits that could help you live a long and happy life, click through the slideshow: