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Outgoing Nature Could Get You to 100
Date:4/20/2009

Sunnier, non-neurotic types may live longer, study suggests,,

MONDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- Want to live to 100 or beyond? Be very outgoing and know how to manage your stress.

A new study found that those were the traits found in the children of people who lived to 100, and longevity is thought to run in families.

"We have observed that these appear to be really important traits that set the children of centenarians apart from other people the same age who may not age as well," said Dr. Thomas Perls, director of the New England Centenarian Study at the Boston University School of Medicine. The study, which focuses on older people and their family members, has tracked the health of children of centenarians as they age, trying to uncover the common denominators of longevity.

The latest findings are published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Because research had already found that longevity runs strongly in families, Perls and his colleagues decided to look at 246 offspring of those who lived to 100 to see if their children, now about age 75, had common personality traits. They evaluated levels of five personality traits -- neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness -- and compared them with published norms for each trait.

They found that the offspring of centenarians were more extraverted than the published norms. That means "they are quite social, establish important friendships and view these friendships as 'safety nets,' " important sources of help when needed, Perls said.

The offspring of centenarians scored lower than the norms on neuroticism, the study found. Perls said that translates into an ability to manage stress very well.

Women in the study also scored high in agreeableness, a trait that might pave the way for friendships, Perls said. The men in the study were no higher in agreeableness than norma
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