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Don’t worry, your genes are happy!

Posted Nov 26 2008 12:31pm

Don't worry, your genes are happy!It has long been postulated that the overall happier you are the healthier you are.  It could also be argued the opposite.  Now, researchers in Australia have found genes that predict your personality traits that affect ‘happiness’ in the March issue of Psychological Science .  ”Subjective well-being” was studied among 973 twin pairs to test the hypothesis that your genes account, to some degree, your happiness.

Subjects, in the United States, were called via telephone and asked a series of questions.  Identical verses paternal (non-identical) twins were questioned regarding their overall ’subjective well-being’.

Subjects, who didn’t hang up on them, were asked three questions regarding their ‘happiness’ and then mailed the Midlife Development Inventory (MIDI), a self-administered 25-item personality questionnaire.

The researchers then analyzed the differences between the identical and non-identical twins and categorized their personality scores results into the areas of:  NeuroticismExtraversionOpennessAgreeableness and  Conscientiousness .

The idea being is that identical twin share all (well, almost all) of their genetic information and non-identical, only share 50%.  The researchers showed that the correlations of genes affected an individual’s personality traits which subsequently affected “subjective well-being” in identical twins was substantially greater than those of non-identical twins.  There were, however, no genetic effects that were unique to “subjective well-being” alone.

Thus, while your genes contributed to your personality in areas of Neuroticism, Extraversion, and, to a lesser extent Conscientiousness, it was your personality that mattered more!  Specifically, one’s ability to endure and ‘bounce back’ from an emotional stress.

Remember,  there is no gene for the human spirit! So, don’t worry, just be happy!


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