Chronic worrying, anxiety and being prone to depression are important aspects of the personality trait known as neuroticism. Previous research has shown that high levels of neuroticism can lead to an early death and researchers from Purdue University in Indiana looked into this issue more closely in a study of 1,788 people between 1975 and 2005. They found that people with high levels of neuroticism were more likely to smoke, something that explained 25-40% of the association between high neuroticism and mortality. The researchers thought that neurotic people turned to cigarettes, and possibly alcohol and other drugs, to deal with their worry and anxiety. The other 60% of the excess mortality of neurotic people could not be explained by higher rates of smoking but could be due to biological factors or other environmental issues.
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