Heart attack, stroke, and other health problems are all risk factors for high blood pressure, or hypertension.
A personality trait known as neuroticism is defined by a propensity to feel unfavourable emotions such worry, fear, mental stress, wrath, guilt, and despair. It is linked, according to research, to less favourable health outcomes. A population’s prevalence of this personality trait may fluctuate over time. For instance, a recent study discovered that the COVID-19 pandemic led to an upsurge in neuroticism among young people in the United States.
A recent study contends that, in some circumstances, the link between neuroticism and bad health outcomes can be the opposite of what is often believed to be the case.
“Individuals who score higher in neuroticism tend to be at greater risk of developing chronic disease — including cardiovascular disease and other diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease — and [they] are at an increased risk of premature mortality,” said Angelina Sutin, PhD, a professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine at Florida State University in Tallahassee. In addition, “neuroticism is the strongest personality predictor of mental health disorders,” she said, “which can contribute to poor physical health outcomes.”
A recent study contends that, in some circumstances, the link between neuroticism and bad health outcomes can be the opposite of what is often believed to be the case. According to the findings of a new large-scale genetic investigation published in the journal General Psychiatry, elevated diastolic blood pressure specifically is probably responsible with neuroticism.
Using a method known as Mendelian randomization, the authors of the current study took use of this characteristic to investigate the relationship between blood pressure and specific personality traits. They used a number of massive datasets that contained genetic information gleaned from blood samples donated by persons primarily of European descent. Systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse pressure, and high blood pressure were the four characteristics of blood pressure that were examined by researchers.
Anxiety, depressive symptoms, neuroticism, and subjective well-being were the other four psychological states they looked at. Their research revealed that while anxiety, depressive symptoms, and subjective well-being were not affected by diastolic blood pressure, neuroticism was. None of the other blood pressure characteristics were related to any of the four psychological states.
The researchers noted that their findings had certain limitations. For instance, the findings could not be applicable to other populations because the genetic data primarily came from persons with European heritage. Additionally, pleiotropy—where one gene may influence both diastolic blood pressure and neuroticism—could not be completely ruled out by researchers. This can give the impression that the two are more connected.
The discovery adds a new dimension, but further research is required to completely understand the mechanisms relating blood pressure and psychological states.