Longevity: Links with Stress Management and Sociability

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Longevity: Links with Stress Management and Sociability

 

Transcript:

 

Host:  Medical University of South Carolina

 

Welcome to this month’s Mind and Body newsletter.  Our topic is being social and managing stress to live longer.  A new study finds that people who are outgoing and manage stress well have the same traits found in the children of people who live to 100, and longevity is thought to run in families.  Researcher Dr. Thomas Perls has

observed these traits and says they’re important qualities that set centenarian’s children apart from people the same age who may not age as well. 

 

The study, which focuses on older people and their family members, has tracked the help of children of centenarians, people who live to be age 100 or older, as they age.  The latest findings are published online in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.  Dr. Perls has looked at nearly 250 people whose parents had lived to 100 to see if they had common personality traits.  Most of the children were age 75.  They evaluated the levels of five personality traits:  neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness, and compared them with published norms for each trait. 

 

They found that the offspring of centenarians were quite social, established important friendships, and viewed friendships as social safety nets.  Women in the study also scored high in agreeableness, a trait that might be helpful in forming friendships.  The men in the study were no higher in agreeableness than the norm.  And men and women, both, scored average levels for openness and conscientiousness.  The researchers found that offspring of centenarians, in their 70s and early 80s, are following in the footsteps of their parents.  They have 60 percent reduced rates of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, says Dr. Perls.

 

The latest study findings don’t surprise Colin Milner, Chief Executive of the International Council on Active Aging.  He says that the researchers are describing the positive aspects of life.  Milner says that his grandmother, who is 98, has the very traits Dr. Perls found that are associated with longevity.  When she became a widow, notes Milner, she stayed positive and remained open to new experiences and to making new friends.  If you aren’t naturally outgoing, Dr. Perls reminds us that we can get better at it by making an effort to be more outgoing.  And, if you don’t have a personality that naturally manages stress, he recommends finding ways to reduce stress that work for you.

 

For more information, always consult your doctor.  Thank you for listening.  Please visit our website for more information on health and wellness topics. 

 


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