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Old 04-20-2014, 03:19 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
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Research psychologist Matthew Hertenstein in his 2013 book entitled "The Tell" talks briefly about a "consistent statistical relation between longevity and conscientiousness." Here is his explanation on page 11:

"You know who these highly conscientious people are: they're reliable; they plan ahead, cross their t's and dot their i's, and focus on the task at hand. It turns out that, on average, such people live significantly longer than their disorganized, careless, and late counterparts."

That particular statistical trend is not a major focus of the book; in fact he brings it up mostly to illustrate that there are always exceptions to statistical trends. The least conscientious person we know may have lived to age 95, sort of like the great uncle who smoked like a chimney and lived to a ripe old age.

I had never heard of conscientiousness as a factor in longevity, so I found it surprising. This author (Hertenstein) is very careful with his facts and always analyses just what a given piece of research proves and doesn't prove, or perhaps just tantalizingly suggests. So I believe he wouldn't have brought up the conscientiousness-longevity connection (even in passing as is the case) unless it was considered a solid one.

Disclosure of possible bias on my part: I am accurately described in the author's quote - reliable, plan ahead, cross my t's and dot my i's.
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Old 04-20-2014, 03:44 AM
 
Location: too far from the sea
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My late cousin in the UK lived to a pretty good age despite having had TB twice as a child. His habits impressed me. Got up at exactly the same time every day, ate a good breakfast, did his morning papers, made his lunch at the same time every day, went out to grocery shop or do research at the library, came home, had a glass of sherry, cooked supper, ate exactly 6 Pringles chips out of a can, watched tv in his chair and fell asleep. Went to bed at the same time every night.

Spent time planning a summer trip every year, planned an annual trip to an antiques fair, researching exactly what he needed to buy for his collection, stayed in the same hotel, went to the fair and bought exactly what he planned to buy. Cared for and organized his collection. Planned another carefully detailed trip for the fall.

He had a certain day of the week for grocery shopping and made detailed lists. He subscribed to certain publications so that he would be "in the know." Everything was meticulously planned.

He was not boring. He was an exciting, enthusiastic person but with a very disciplined lifestyle and regular habits. And from other people I've observed, the theory would appear to hold true to a reasonable extent. I don't know what it is, but we seem to thrive as creatures of habit. (as long as they are good habits.)
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Old 04-20-2014, 03:57 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
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^^^^ That was an interesting example, In_newengland. However, I did not assume that rigidity of scheduling would necessarily go along with being conscientious. I am extremely flexible in my scheduling - I do not go to bed at the same time, do not eat at the same time, etc. But I am extremely reliable and dependable in terms of arriving on time for meetings, appointments, and other events and I like to plan ahead and be well organized and thorough in terms of accomplishing tasks, especially if the tasks are complex.
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Old 04-20-2014, 04:13 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
33,896 posts, read 42,133,814 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
My late cousin in the UK lived to a pretty good age despite having had TB twice as a child. His habits impressed me. Got up at exactly the same time every day, ate a good breakfast, did his morning papers, made his lunch at the same time every day, went out to grocery shop or do research at the library, came home, had a glass of sherry, cooked supper, ate exactly 6 Pringles chips out of a can, watched tv in his chair and fell asleep. Went to bed at the same time every night.

Spent time planning a summer trip every year, planned an annual trip to an antiques fair, researching exactly what he needed to buy for his collection, stayed in the same hotel, went to the fair and bought exactly what he planned to buy. Cared for and organized his collection. Planned another carefully detailed trip for the fall.

He had a certain day of the week for grocery shopping and made detailed lists. He subscribed to certain publications so that he would be "in the know." Everything was meticulously planned.

He was not boring. He was an exciting, enthusiastic person but with a very disciplined lifestyle and regular habits. And from other people I've observed, the theory would appear to hold true to a reasonable extent. I don't know what it is, but we seem to thrive as creatures of habit. (as long as they are good habits.)

Do we know each other? Your cousin sounds a tad OCD.

I have just enough sloppy eccentricities to not be your cousin.

My shotguns are arranged by barrel length from left to right.
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Old 04-20-2014, 05:39 AM
 
Location: Whereever we have our RV parked
8,787 posts, read 7,707,284 times
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The OP's article makes some sense. A conscientious person would tend to be a little more laid back, not in such a stressed out hurry that they would run over people and push people to get what they want. Instead, they relax, take their time, consider other peoples needs, and are generally gracious and considerate. That all comes from a person that is more at peace with themselves and their life. What the author of the article may have actually hit on is is "Stress" that is the big factor. Do a little research and you'll find that stress is related to a host of health problems, cancer, heart attacks, allergies etc.
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Old 04-20-2014, 05:48 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,978,143 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post

That particular statistical trend is not a major focus of the book; in fact he brings it up mostly to illustrate that there are always exceptions to statistical trends. .
Before I subscribed to such "findings," I'd need to know the precise method of research. Quantitative (by actual numbers arrived at by objective methods) or Qualitative (interviews, readings, second-source, etc)? Who conducted this research (he?) and over what period of time? What kind of follow-up and tracking? etc etc. Seems like these kinds of books put out certain theories that acknowledge their outliers (exceptions) so you never quite know whether the theory holds up or not.

On an anecdotal level, my father was extremely conscientious. He also had a temper and died of a stroke at age 62.
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Old 04-20-2014, 05:52 AM
 
Location: Waterville
332 posts, read 428,235 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post

"You know who these highly conscientious people are: they're reliable; they plan ahead, cross their t's and dot their i's, and focus on the task at hand. It turns out that, on average, such people live significantly longer than their disorganized, careless, and late counterparts."

Well then, I should have become dust in the wind by now. With the exception of being compulsively punctual for work and appointments, I would not fit this description of 'conscientious'. I am disorganized and have my head in the clouds much of the time.
I love to plan. Sadly, it is an exercise in fiction. The actual doing is so tedious.

I have found that those who cross their t's and dot their i's are often the same people who lack imagination. And although the world would be a sorry place without the crossers and the dotters, I can't say I'd prefer to be one of them.
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Old 04-20-2014, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Wooster, Ohio
1,036 posts, read 787,290 times
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Interesting study. I wonder if conscientious people engage in less risk-taking behavior.
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Old 04-20-2014, 06:38 AM
 
29,782 posts, read 34,871,258 times
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Wouldn't the more conscientious of been more likely to have prepared and laid out their retirement as best they could? Wouldn't their counterparts have paid less attention to the long term goal of a secured, comfortable retirement with access and the resources to remain as healthy as possible? Would those differences impact longevity. Come to think of it wouldn't there be a difference at various stages of life?
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Old 04-20-2014, 06:38 AM
 
Location: Glenbogle
730 posts, read 1,027,552 times
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I've always been cursed with conscientiousness, so according to that study I should have a long life, LOL.

Hm, I wonder how much the tendency to procrastinate over jobs that I really *loathe* doing offsets the conscientiousness factor, LOL
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