Neurotic People Die Earlier

Increased likelihood of smoking increases mortality risk of nervous nellies
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2009 6:06 PM CDT
Neurotic people are more likely to die prematurely?in large part because they are more likely to smoke, a new study found.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Neurotics are more likely to die prematurely than their mellower peers, LiveScience reports. A new study that followed nearly 1,800 men for 30 years found that those who fit self-descriptive criteria for neuroticism—constantly worried or anxious—were more likely to die early, in large part because they were more likely to smoke in order to quell their nervousness.

"It may be the case that smoking and other bad health behaviors help alleviate those feelings of being stressed out, those feelings of worry," said a researcher. "It may ease those feelings of worry and anxiety, but it may kill you in the end." Subjects completed surveys on their mental state that were quantified into a 10-point scale ranking their nervousness. Every point on the scale corresponded to a 5% increase in the risk of a person’s premature death.