Conscientiousness and longevity: an examination of possible mediators.

TitleConscientiousness and longevity: an examination of possible mediators.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsHill, PL, Turiano, NA, Hurd, MD, Mroczek, DK, Roberts, BW
JournalHealth Psychol
Date Published2011 Sep
ISSN Number1930-7810
KeywordsAdult, Aged, Chronic disease, Cognition, Educational Status, Female, Health Behavior, Health Status, Humans, Longevity, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Personality, Proportional Hazards Models, Psychological Tests

OBJECTIVE: Conscientious individuals tend to experience a number of health benefits, not the least of which being greater longevity. However, it remains an open question as to why this link with longevity occurs. The current study tested two possible mediators (physical health and cognitive functioning) of the link between conscientiousness and longevity.

METHOD: We tested these mediators using a 10-year longitudinal sample (N = 512), a subset of the long-running Health and Retirement Study of aging adults. Measures included an adjective-rating measure of conscientiousness, self-reported health conditions, and three measures of cognitive functioning (word recall, delayed recall, and vocabulary) included in the 1996 wave of the HRS study.

RESULTS: Our results found that conscientiousness significantly predicted greater longevity, even in a model including the two proposed mediator variables, gender, age, and years of education. Moreover, cognitive functioning appears to partially mediate this relationship.

CONCLUSIONS: This study replicates previous research showing that conscientious individuals tend to lead longer lives, and provides further insight into why this effect occurs. In addition, it underscores the importance of measurement considerations.


Hill, Patrick L Turiano, Nicholas A Hurd, Michael D Mroczek, Daniel K Roberts, Brent W R01 AG021178-09/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States United States Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association Health Psychol. 2011 Sep;30(5):536-41.

User Guide Notes

Endnote Keywords

Adult/Chronic Disease/mortality/psychology/Chronic Disease/mortality/psychology/Cognition/Educational Status/Female/Health Behavior/Health Status/Humans/Longevity/Longitudinal Studies/Middle Aged/Personality/Personality/Proportional Hazards Models/Psychological Tests

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalHealth Psychol
Citation Key7644
PubMed ID21604882
PubMed Central IDPMC3587967
Grant ListR01 AG018436 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01 AG021178 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
U01 AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States