Link Between Personality and Cancer Ruled Out

Extroversion doesn't up chances of disease, study finds

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MONDAY, Jan. 24, 2005 (HealthDayNews) -- There's no link between cancer and two specific personality traits, extroversion and neuroticism, says a study in the March 1 issue of Cancer.

Some researchers have hypothesized that a high degree of extroversion and a low degree of neuroticism are associated with an increased risk of cancer. Some studies have suggested these personality traits influence known cancer risk behaviors, such as smoking. However, other studies have found no such association.

This new study was led by the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen, Denmark. Researchers analyzed data on the cancer history, health behavior and personalities of 29,595 twins. There were a total of 1,898 cancer cases reported in this group.

The analysis found no association between either extroversion or neuroticism and any kind of cancer. Even after the two personality traits were combined, the study found no increased risk of cancer.

"We found no indication of an association between certain personality traits and risks for cancer, nor did we find support for an indirect association where certain personality traits influence health behavior and thus indirectly affect risk for cancer," the study authors wrote.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about cancer risk.

SOURCE: John Wiley & Sons Inc., news release, Jan. 24, 2005

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