breaking news

Facebook hunting photos lead to wildlife charges for New Carlisle men

Being stubborn may help you live longer, new study suggests


Stubbornness may actually be a trait that helps people live longer, a new study suggests.

RELATED: Breakthrough discovery helps scientists reverse aging cells in humans

Published this week in the academic journal "International Psychogeriatrics", the study examined the mental and physical health of elderly Italians living in a remote village nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and mountains. The researchers behind the study, who hail from the University of Rome La Sapienza and University of California San Diego School of Medicine, found many common personality traits between the elderly village residents, including stubbornness.

The research looked specifically at 29 individuals aged 90 to 101, comparing them to 51 younger family members aged 50 to 75. Interestingly, the older group was found to have better overall mental health, even though the younger group was physically healthier.


"The main themes that emerged from our study, and appear to be the unique features associated with better mental health of this [older] rural population, were positivity, work ethic, stubbornness and a strong bond with family, religion and land," Dilip V. Jeste MD, senior author of the study and senior associate dean for the Center of Healthy Aging and Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine, said in a statement.

To analyze the participants, the researchers used a quantitative rating scale as well as qualitative interviews. They discussed topics including migrations, traumatic events and beliefs with the elderly individuals. Younger family members were also analyzed using the same quantitative scale, while also being asked to describe the personalities of their older relatives.

"The [older] group's love of their land is a common theme and gives them a purpose in life. Most of them are still working in their homes and on the land. They think, 'This is my life and I'm not going to give it up,'" Anna Scelzo, first author of the study with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Chiavarese, Italy, explained.

"We also found that this group tended to be domineering, stubborn and needed a sense of control, which can be a desirable trait as they are true to their convictions and care less about what others think," Scelzo said.

"This tendency to control the environment suggests notable grit that is balanced by a need to adapt to changing circumstances."

Many in the elderly group spoke about their passion for life, sometimes despite heartache and sadness.

"I am always thinking for the best. There is always a solution in life. This is what my father has taught me: to always face difficulties and hope for the best," one participant said.

RELATED: 4 secrets to slowing down the aging process

The new study is also unique in that it examined long life from a psychological perspective.

"There have been a number of studies on very old adults, but they have mostly focused on genetics rather than their mental health or personalities," Jeste pointed out.

"Studying the strategies of exceptionally long-lived and lived-well individuals, who not just survive but also thrive and flourish, enhances our understanding of health and functional capacities in all age groups," he said.

So, while the study does not conclude that stubbornness is guaranteed to make you live longer, a strong correlation was noted. Jeste also points out that the study shows "well-being and wisdom increase with aging" despite a decrease in physical health.

Beyond stubbornness and strong mental health, numerous recent studies have suggested correlations between particular habits and longer life. 

A survey of previous research published last month suggests that drinking three to four cups of coffee per day is connected with lower risks of premature death, heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, dementia and some cancers. Other scientific studies suggest that calorie restrictive diets, dancing and having sex regularly may all slow down the aging process as well.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Health

Meet the most generous book lover in Yellow Springs
Meet the most generous book lover in Yellow Springs

Countless books of the odd and unexpected varieties are in the hands of many people who have visited Yellow Springs, thanks to Kate Mooneyham.  >> 5 things to do in Yellow Springs Mooneyham, manager of Dark Star Books in Yellow Springs, has been consistently placing a large box of FREE books in the alley behind her and her mother&rsquo...
Check out these ADORABLE tea stops in the Dayton area
Check out these ADORABLE tea stops in the Dayton area

It’s fitting that National Tea Month would fall in January-- the month for finding new hobbies, starting healthier habits, and giving yourself some extra self-care. According to eatright.org, tea has a number of possible health benefits including improved heart health, potentially helping to prevent certain cancers, decreased odds of...
FOOD DEAL: Here’s how you can get a FREE bowl from Piada this weekend
FOOD DEAL: Here’s how you can get a FREE bowl from Piada this weekend

Your poorly-planned New Year’s resolutions just got a little easier. Piada Italian Street Food is spotlighting one of its favorite seasonal entrées this weekend: the Mediterranean Power Bowl. You can try a bowl for FREE when you purchase any entrée during the weekends highlighted below: - Friday-Sunday, Jan. 19-21, while...
The story of the invasive callery pear
The story of the invasive callery pear

Last week while discussing the newly released Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Invasive Species list, I mentioned that callery pear was on it. I have written about the story of this invasive tree, but it’s worth doing it again because it’s really quite interesting. Callery pears were first brought to the United States from Asia back...
Good Samaritan closing: Employees still in shock 
Good Samaritan closing: Employees still in shock 

A day after the announcement that Good Samaritan Hospital will shut its doors for good at the end of the year, employees said their still trying to come to grips with the initial shock.  Some didn't know anything about it prior to the announcement, while others say they'd heard behind-the scenes rumblings. But all of them said Thursday that there's...
More Stories