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Jul 24, 2013 08:45 AM EDT

Outgoing Teens Tend To Enjoy Greater Happiness and Health Later In Life, Study


People, who were more outgoing and emotionally stable in their teenage, were found to be happier during their later stages of life when compared to people who were introverted or emotionally unstable, according to a study conducted by researchers from University of Southampton. The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Research in Personality.

The study shows that the personality traits one develops during adolescence and early adult years have a lasting effect on their lifetime happiness. Researchers examined the effects of neuroticism and extroversion at ages 16 and 26 and compared them to self-reported rates of life satisfaction and mental well being at ages 60 and 64.

The researchers measured extroversion based on queries about sociability, energy, and activities, whereas neuroticism was weighed with questions about emotional stability, mood, and distractibility.

The results revealed that being highly extroverted in teens directly converted to greater happiness and life satisfaction in early 60s. On the other hand, being neurotic left a negative impact and showed having lower life satisfaction in later life. They seem to be more susceptible to anxiety and depression leading to physical health problems later in life.

'We found that extroversion in youth had direct, positive effects on wellbeing and life satisfaction in later life. Neuroticism, in contrast, had a negative impact, largely because it tends to make people more susceptible to feelings of anxiety and depression and to physical health problems," said Dr Catharine Gale from the Medical Research Council's Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton.

As a result, the study concludes that the personality in early life has a permanent influence on one's happiness, even 40 years later.

"Understanding what determines how happy people feel in later life is of particular interest because there is good evidence that happier people tend to live longer. In this study we found that levels of neuroticism and extroversion measured over 40 years earlier were strongly predictive of well-being and life satisfaction in older men and women," Gale said.

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