Lifelong Pathways to Longevity: Personality, Relationships, Flourishing, and Health
Article first published online: 16 OCT 2013
© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Personality
Special Issue: Personality, Relationships, and Health
Volume 82, Issue 6, pages 472–484, December 2014
How to Cite
Kern, M. L., Della Porta, S. S. and Friedman, H. S. (2014), Lifelong Pathways to Longevity: Personality, Relationships, Flourishing, and Health. Journal of Personality, 82: 472–484. doi: 10.1111/jopy.12062
- Issue published online: 12 NOV 2014
- Article first published online: 16 OCT 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 8 AUG 2013 04:55AM EST
Building upon decades of research with the lifelong (nine-decade) Terman Life Cycle Study, we present a life pathway model for understanding human thriving that accounts for long-term individual difference in health and longevity, with a particular focus on child personality and adult social relationships. Developing data derived and supplemented from the Terman study (N = 570 males, 451 females), we employed regression and survival analyses to test models of childhood personality predicting adult psychosocial factors (subjective well-being, family relationships, community involvement, subjective achievement, hardships) and subsequent longevity. Child personality differentially related to midlife social relationships, well-being, and hardships. Conscientiousness and good social relationships predicted longer life, whereas subjective well-being was unrelated to mortality risk. Examining multiple life factors across long time periods uncovers important pathways through which personality relates to premature mortality or longevity. Typical stress-and-illness models are untenable and should be replaced with life span trajectory approaches.