“Living to very old age may be ‘in the genes’ as the saying goes, and a recent study published in the journal Aging suggests that certain personality traits make up a major part of the mix of longevity genes.
Researchers found that having a positive attitude and a sense of humor could play a role in living a longer, healthier life. They developed a questionnaire designed to identify certain genetically-based personality traits and used it to assess 243 Ashkenazi Jewish adults between 95 and 107 years of age. The investigators chose this population because their genetic similarity would make it easier to account for genetic differences in personality.
“The results indicated they had two things — a positive attitude for life, meaning they are optimistic, easygoing, extraverted, laughed more and expressed emotions rather than bottling them up,” said Dr. Nil Barzilai, a study co-author and director of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Institute for Aging Research.
The study participants also were less neurotic and more conscientious than a representative sample of other Americans.