At the start of the study, Terracciano said he thought people who were more anxious or nervous would have higher metabolic rates. "But we didn't find this," he said.
Terracciano said the participants who were identified as more neurotic took a longer time to complete the walking portion of the study and had lower aerobic capacity. Those who scored lower for neuroticism and higher for conscientiousness, extraversion or openness, had better aerobic capacity and expended less energy to walk the same distance. This meant those who were more resilient personality-wise were faster and had better aerobic capacity.
"They could go faster but they used less energy," Terracciano said. "But I should make it clear that we did not find a relationship between personality disposition and resting metabolic rate."
In other words, while specific traits of resilience played a role, how nice or not nice someone was in general was not connected to having a better or worse metabolism or aerobic fitness level.
Dr. Joanne Sotelo, the division director of psychiatry at Scott & White Healthcare in Round Rock, Texas, said the research makes sense.
"The study reinforces what we already know -- that personalities that are more flexible and adaptable will do better overall," Sotelo said. "It's a reminder that for people who are more symptomatic -- from a personality or mental-health-disorder standpoint -- we have to recommend to them that they need to eat well, exercise and sleep well. I discuss this on a regular basis with patients."
She said the word "neuroticism," which the study authors use to describe a personality trait, may be a little outdated though.
"'Neurotic' is kind of an older term for people who may be more dramatic, who have poor coping skills and are not very flexible," she said. "They often have un
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