People who were more outgoing or emotionally stable during their teenage years are more likely to be happy during their adult life, according to a new study published in the Journal of Research in Personality.
Researchers led by Dr Catharine Gale from the Medical Research Council's Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit analyzed data of more than 4,500 people who were part of the National Survey for Health and Development. All of the participants were born in 1946 and had completed a short personality inventory at age 16 and again at age 26.
The researchers found that people who displayed greater extroversion when they were 16 and 26 years of age directly associated with higher scores for wellbeing and for satisfaction with life in old age while greater neuroticism was linked with poorer levels of wellbeing.
"Understanding what determines how happy people feel in later life is of particular interest because there is good evidence that happier people tend to live longer. In this study we found that levels of neuroticism and extraversion measured over 40 years earlier were strongly predictive of well-being and life satisfaction in older men and women", Dr Gale said.