Happy childhood = happy life


Individuals who are even-tempered and outgoing in young adulthood turn into happier, more satisfied seniors when compared to their moodier and more introverted peers. The study, led by the University of Southampton in the UK, examined the link between personality measured in youth and their well-being assessed forty years later. They also looked at how psychological and physical health relates to the link.

A forty year long comparison

“Few studies have examined the long-term influence of personality traits in youth on happiness and life satisfaction later in life,” said lead author Dr. Catharine Gale, reader in epidemiology at University of Southampton in the UK. Dr. Gale and colleagues compared measures of neuroticism and extraversion first at 16 and 26 years of age and compared those marks to measurements of mental wellbeing and life satisfaction gathered when the subjects were 60 and 64 years old.

Extraversion and neuroticism

Initially, extraversion was assessed by measuring sociability, energy and activities. Neuroticism was measured by self-reported levels in mood, emotional stability and ease of distraction. Then, forty years later, more than half complete questionnaires designed to measure wellbeing and satisfaction with life.

Youthful extraversion leads to a more satisfying life

Researchers found that personality traits shaped by early adulthood appear to have an enduring influence decades later. “We found that extraversion in youth had direct, positive effects on wellbeing and life satisfaction in later life. Neuroticism, in contrast, had a negative impact, largely because it tends to make people more susceptible to feelings of anxiety and depression and to physical health problems,” explained Dr. Gale.

“Personality in youth appears t have an enduring influence on happiness decades later,” she concluded.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal of Research of Personality


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