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Being Neurotic and Conscientious Good for Health, Study Finds

Update Date: Nov 25, 2012 07:18 AM EST

So you are hardworking, responsible, organized, neat, and systematic; or maybe you are moody, a worrier and nervous. But it is all OK and for the best, as a new research suggests that being both neurotic and conscientious may be good for your health.

The conclusions come as a result of a study conducted by scientists from the University of Rochester Medical Center who investigated on how psychosocial factors such as personality traits affect health, Health Day reports.  

While neuroticism is typically linked to hostility, depression and excessive drinking and smoking, the findings of the current study that involved 1,000 plus subjects reveal that people with moderate to high levels of both neuroticism and conscientiousness were more likely to have the lowest levels of a type of protein molecule called interleukin 6 (IL-6).

According to the report, a person having high levels of IL-6 apparently has the presence of inflammation linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, asthma, arthritis, diabetes and some cancers.

The study revealed that people with traits of neuroticism and conscientiousness had lower BMI and fewer chronic health conditions diagnosed.

"These people are likely to weigh the consequences of their actions, and therefore their level of neuroticism coupled with conscientiousness probably stops them from engaging in risky behaviors," study author Nicholas Turiano, a postdoctoral fellow in the psychiatry department, said in a university news release.

Another possibility is that people with a combination of neuroticism and conscientiousness are also compelled to seek treatment when they have health problems, due to their personality traits.

"Future studies will try to figure out who are the healthy neurotics and why they are healthier," Turiano said.

"Eventually, the clinical application might allow us to identify patients at high risk for chronic inflammation, and therefore have an increased risk of health problems and death."

The study has associated certain personality traits and health status; however, it does not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

The study was published online recently in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

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