Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Research Publications

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    Conscientiousness, Career Success, and Longevity: A Lifespan Analysis
    Kern, ML ; Friedman, HS ; Martin, LR ; Reynolds, CA ; Luong, G (OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, 2009-04-01)
    BACKGROUND: Markers of executive functioning, such as prudent planning for the future and impulse control, are related to conscientiousness and may be central to both occupational success and health outcomes. PURPOSE: The aim of the study was to examine relations among conscientiousness, career success, and mortality risk across a 65-year period. METHODS: Using data derived from 693 male participants in the Terman Life Cycle Study, we examined associations among childhood personality, midlife objective career success, and lifelong mortality risk through 2006. RESULTS: Conscientiousness and career success each predicted lower mortality risk (N = 693, relative hazard (rh) = 0.82 [95% confidence interval = 0.74, 0.91] and rh = 0.80 [0.71, 0.91], respectively), with both shared and unique variance. Importantly, childhood personality moderated the success-longevity link; conscientiousness was most relevant for least successful individuals. CONCLUSION: Conscientiousness and career success predicted longevity, but not in a straightforward manner. Findings highlight the importance of lifespan processes.