3 Personality Traits Linked To A Stronger Immune System

People with these three personality traits tend to have stronger immune systems.

People with these three personality traits tend to have stronger immune systems.

Personality traits and the immune system display some fascinating connections, research finds.

For example, contrary to conventional beliefs, outgoing and sociable individuals are found to exhibit the strongest immune responses.

This challenges the assumption that carefulness is synonymous with robust health.

Here are three ways research has found connections between personality and the immune system.

1. Introverts versus extroverts

Outgoing, sociable people have the strongest immune systems, a study finds.

Those who are the most careful, though, are more likely to have a weaker immune system response.

The research found no evidence, though, that a tendency towards negative emotions was associated with poor health.

2. Optimists versus pessimists

Optimists have healthier hearts than pessimists, a study of over 51,000 adults has found.

Optimists tend to have stronger immune systems, which may be part of the reason.

Professor Rosalba Hernandez, who led the study, said:

“Individuals with the highest levels of optimism have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to their more pessimistic counterparts.

This association remains significant, even after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and poor mental health.”

Optimists also had healthier body mass indexes, were more physically active and less likely to smoke.

Researchers found that the more optimistic people were, the greater their overall physical health.

The most optimistic people were 76% more likely to have health scores that were in the ideal range.

3. Conscientiousness

Men with conscientious personality traits and those who are open to experience live longer, a study has found.

Consciousness has repeatedly been linked to a stronger immune system.

For women, those who are more agreeable and emotionally stable enjoy a longer life.

This means that for women the best personality traits for a long life are:

  1. Extroversion
  2. Optimism
  3. Agreeableness
  4. Emotional stability

Whereas for men, the best traits are:

  1. Extroversion
  2. Optimism
  3. Conscientiousness
  4. Openness to experience

Ask your friends

The kicker is that it’s your friends — not you — who are better at judging these personality traits from the outside…

…and consequently predicting how long you will live and even how strong your immune system might be.

Dr Joshua Jackson, the author of a study on the subject, said:

“You expect your friends to be inclined to see you in a positive manner, but they also are keen observers of the personality traits that could send you to an early grave.


Our study shows that people are able to observe and rate a friend’s personality accurately enough to predict early mortality decades down the road.

It suggests that people are able to see important characteristics related to health even when their friends were, for the most part, healthy and many years from death.”


Author: Dr Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004.

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