(TIME) -- Neuroticism isn’t generally considered a desirable attribute, and many studies have linked the personality trait to poorer health and an increased risk of mental disorders. But a new study in Psychological Science suggests that for some people, neurotic tendencies may actually reduce the risk of dying early.
The new paper analyzed data from more than 500,000 people in the UK, ages 37 to 73, who answered questions about their lifestyle behaviors, medical conditions and how healthy they felt. They also completed a personality assessment to measure levels of neuroticism. Neurotic people are more likely to experience negative emotions, such as irritability, frustration, nervousness, worry and guilt.
Participants were followed for about six years, and researchers found that higher levels of neuroticism were associated with a slightly higher risk of death over the follow-up period.
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