PSYC 2P25 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Conscientiousness, Type A And Type B Personality Theory, Job Performance

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PSYC 2P25 October 5, 2012
Personality and Life Outcomes
How does personality “matter” in life?
Personality and Longevity
Which personality traits predict longer life?
Friedman et al. (1993, 1995): compared ratings of children’s personalities (by adults during
1920s) with later data on eventual age of death (and cause of death)
Traits studied:
o “Social conscientiousness” -> dependability, responsibility
o Motivation
o Energy
o Cheerfulness
o Mood stability
o Sociability
Found that longer life was related to
o Social conscientiousness (positively)
o Cheerfulness (negatively)
o (difference of about 5 years on average between 75th and 25th percentiles of the traits)
o Why did people high in social conscientiousness tend to live longer?
Injuries? Persons high in Soc. Consc. were less likely to die from injuries, but few
people died from injuries, so this is not the main reason
Obesity? No; Soc. Consc. wasn’t related to obesity
Smoking and drinking? High soc-consc people smoked and drank less, and both
smoking and drinking predicted earlier death; however, effect of Soc. Consc.
wasn’t mainly due to smoking and drinking
Reason for relation between Soc. Consc. is unlear..
Better stress coping (more prepared)?
More social support (closer relationships)?
Many health behaviours combined?
o Why did people high in cheerfulness tend to live less long?
Cheerfulness wasn’t much related to smoking, drinking, etc
Maybe cheerful people were too optimistic about health -> tended to neglect
developing health problems? (Don’t know)
Contrary to Friedman et al. results, a study of nuns (Danner et al., 2001) found that “positive
emotion” in written autobiographies (age 22) predicted longer lifespan *findings for discrepant
findings not clear]
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Document Summary

Friedman et al. (1993, 1995): compared ratings of children"s personalities (by adults during. 1920s) with later data on eventual age of death (and cause of death) Traits studied: social conscientiousness -> dependability, responsibility, motivation, energy, cheerfulness, mood stability, sociability. Consc. were less likely to die from injuries, but few people died from injuries, so this is not the main reason. High soc-consc people smoked and drank less, and both smoking and drinking predicted earlier death; however, effect of soc. Consc. wasn"t mainly due to smoking and drinking. Cheerfulness wasn"t much related to smoking, drinking, etc. Maybe cheerful people were too optimistic about health -> tended to neglect developing health problems? (don"t know) Contrary to friedman et al. results, a study of nuns (danner et al. , 2001) found that positive emotion in written autobiographies (age 22) predicted longer lifespan *findings for discrepant findings not clear] Some mds suggested that many heart attack patients had similar personality called type a .

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