Saturday, January 03, 2009

Neuroticism Might Lead to Heart Disease!

Neuroticism can be defined as an enduring tendency to experience negative emotional states. A neurotic person tends to experience negative feeling such as anger, anxiety, depression and guilt. People who are neurotic are worrisome and might have emotional vicissitudes. They simply could not respond to environmental stress appropriately and more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult.

In comparison, extroversion is the act, state, or habit of being predominantly concerned with and obtaining gratification from what is outside the self. Extroversive people are friendly and outgoing. They not only enjoy human interactions but also are enthusiastic, talkative, assertive and gregarious. A person, who is extroversive, is more likely to enjoy their time spent with people.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland reported in December 2007 in the Journal “Psychosomatic Medicine” that neuroticism could cause heart disease. To clarify the effects on heart by both neuroticism and extroversion, they looked at mortality in 5,424 middle-aged adults, who were followed for 21 years after they completed personality tests.

The findings revealed that an increasing degree of neuroticism was related to a higher risk of dying from any cause. However, the relationship disappeared after adjustments were made for other relevant factors like body weight, use of alcohol, social class and education. Furthermore, the risk of death from cardiovascular disease was higher when a person’s level of neuroticism rose. Such relationship was still significant even after statistical adjustment.

On the other hand, the researchers found that extraversion tended to reduce a person’s chance of dying from respiratory disease, although extraversion had no other effects on mortality.

In conclusion, the researchers believed that the link between neuroticism and death of cardiovascular disease could be related to gene, though the socioeconomic and behavioral factors should be included as well.

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