There’s no question that having a healthy personality is key to living a good life. But could certain personality traits actually help you avoid certain diseases later on? According to recent research, that just might be the case.
A January 2019 study published in the journal Menopause followed 139,924 postmenopausal women who didn’t have diabetes to begin with. Throughout 14 years of follow-up, there were 19,240 cases of type 2 diabetes identified among this group of women. Using data from the Women’s Health Initiative, researchers examined whether specific personality traits of these same women were associated with their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
As it turned out, results showed that positive personality traits like optimism might actually help to reduce a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes. Meanwhile, more cynical traits like high negativity and hostility were linked with increased risk of diabetes in postmenopausal women.
Of course, it’s worth keeping in mind that personality is not the only factor that helps determine whether or not a person is diagnosed with diabetes in the future. Obesity, a family history of diabetes, and a lack of physical activity are just a few other characteristics that may put an individual at risk for this disease. That said, experts report that identifying personality traits in women at risk for diabetes may actually help them personalize treatment strategies for them at a later time, should that be necessary.
“Personality traits remain stable across one’s lifetime; therefore, women at higher risk for diabetes who have low optimism, high negativity, and hostility could have prevention strategies tailored to their personality types,” said JoAnn Pinkerton, MD, the executive director of The North American Menopause Society, in a press release. “In addition to using personality traits to help us identify women at higher risk for developing diabetes, more individualized education and treatment strategies also should be used.”
But remember: It’s never too late to try and embrace more happiness in your life!