It is well established that psychological distress (depression and anxiety) is related to an increased risk of mortality. The personality trait of neuroticism, reflecting a relatively stable tendency towards negative emotions, has also been associated with elevated rates of death in some studies. Accordingly, we tested the possibility that it is the neuroticism trait itself, rather than the distress state, that is generating an increased risk of mortality. We used data from the UK Biobank study, a UK-wide prospective cohort study (2006 2010) in which distress was ascertained using the Patient Health Questionnaire and neuroticism using the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised Short Form. A mean of 6.2 years of follow-up of 308 721 study members gave rise to 4334 deaths. Higher neuroticism was weakly associated with total mortality (age-adjusted and sex-adjusted HR per SD increase; 95% CI 1.05; 1.02 to 1.09), and moderately strongly correlated with distress symptoms (r=0.55, p<0.0001). Distress symptoms were positively related to risk of total mortality (age-adjusted and sex-adjusted HR per SD increase in distress; 95% CI 1.23; 1.20 to 1.26). This gradient was, in fact, slightly strengthened after adding neuroticism to the multivariable model (1.30; 1.26 to 1.34) but markedly attenuated after taking into account other covariates which included health behaviours and somatic disease (1.16; 1.12 to 1.20). Similar results were apparent when cardiovascular disease, cancer and external cause of death were the end points of interest. While there was good a priori reasons to anticipate the neuroticism would at least partially explain the relation between distress symptoms and causespecific mortality, we found no such evidence in the present study.
Batty et al Psychological distress, neuroticism, and cause-specific mortality: early prospective idence from UK Biobank J Epidemiol Community Health 2016;0:1 4. doi:10.1136/jech-2016-207267
The relationship of cognitive function and negative emotions with morbidity and mortality: an aetiological investigation
To understand why poorer cognitive function and negative emotional factors are typically associated with poorer health and increased mortality.
The explanation for the associations between poorer cognitive function or negative emotions and adverse health outcomes are unclear. In general, adjustment for potentially confounding or mediating factors has had little attenuating effect on the associations, but many studies have lacked comprehensive data on such factors. It is important that we investigate the biological determinants of the relationships between cognitive function and negative emotional states and traits, and later health outcomes. Publications:
1. G Davies, et al. Genome-wide association study of cognitive functions and educational attainment in UK Biobank (N=112151)
2. WD Hill, et al.Molecular genetic aetiology of general cognitive function is enriched in evolutionarily conserved regions
|Lead investigator:||Catharine Gale|
|Lead institution:||University of Edinburgh|
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