Outgoing and emotionally stable young adults tend to have happier times in retirement than those who lived introverted or emotionally fraught young adult lives. That’s the finding of an analysis of more than 4,500 people in the Journal of Research in Personality.
Investigators conducted two earlier personality surveys. Participants were 16 years old when they were initially surveyed and 26 years old for the followup. They were asked questions about their sociability, energy, emotional stability, mood, and distractibility. The researchers calculated scores of extraversion and neuroticism for every participant.
Then, nearly four decades later, more than 2,500 of the participants completed questions about their well-being and satisfaction with life, and their physical health.
Greater extroversion in young adulthood directly correlated with greater satisfaction later in life. On the negative side researchers found that higher levels of neuroticism during the teen and young adult years was associated with a greater susceptibility toward anxiety and depression in people’s 60s. (Remember, that’s a tendency, not a certainty.)
The researchers point out that trying to find criteria for life-long happiness is more than an academic exercise: Happy people tend to live longer, so figuring out what makes for happiness could lead to adding precious, happy years.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]