Does neuroticism have a positive side?

Being neurotic could prove good for a person's health, under certain circumstances. This is according to new research from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), which found some people who describe themselves as neurotic have the lowest levels of a biomarker for chronic disease.

Published in the journal Brain, Behaviour and Immunity, the study showed these individuals had less Interleukin 6, which is also a marker for inflammation.

The findings also indicated people with higher levels of conscientiousness and neurotic traits - such as being moody, nervous and worrisome, leading to hostility and depression - are often highly organised, goal-oriented and reflective.

Nicholas Turiano, a post-doctoral fellow at the URMC's Department of Psychiatry - whose team looked at data from the National Survey of Midlife Development as part of the investigation - said: "These people are likely to weigh the consequences of their action and therefore their level of neuroticism coupled with conscientiousness probably stops them from engaging in risky behaviours."

Dr Hugh Koch, who is a Chartered Psychologist, adds:

"Another interesting study from across the pond! The general point is a fascinating one.can our neuroses, anxiety and depression have positive outcomes?

"We know that PTSD can result in positive growth and re orientation of aspects of our lives. Therapists know that many of their patients feel and think they have 'grown' as a result of a) having personal problems and b) discussing them in therapy and resolving some of them. This is certainly worth exploring both empirically and clinically.

"However the URMC study summary suggests a possible link that does not seem to have search finding backing and is not particularly intuitive, linking neurotic behaviour per se with goal-oriented or organised behaviour. Also, anxious people, in all probability, avoid most risky behaviour.this is not a startling finding.

Still, back to my first and constructive comment. I think it is a very worthwhile initiative, both clinically and empirically, to investigate how our anxiety and depression can be channelled to creative and worthwhile aims."

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