The best childhood predictor of longevity,
it turns out, is a quality best defined as
conscientiousness: "the often complex pattern
of persistence, prudence, hard work, close involvement
with friends and communities" that produces a well-organized
person who is "somewhat obsessive and not at all carefree."
The respondents to the study who fared best
in the longevity sweepstakes tended
to have a fairly high level of physical activity,
a habit of giving back to the community, a thriving
and long-running career, and
a healthy marriage and family life.
They summoned resilience against reverses and
challenges — including divorce, loss
of a spouse, career upsets and war trauma.
By contrast, those with the darkest
dispositions—catastrophizers, who viewed every
stumble as a calamity—were most likely to die sooner.
From a review of the new book "The Longevity Project"