Personality traits and cancer survival: a Danish cohort study

Br J Cancer. 2006 Jul 17;95(2):146-52. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6603244. Epub 2006 Jul 4.


We conducted a population-based prospective cohort study in Denmark to investigate associations between the personality traits and cancer survival. Between 1976 and 1977, 1020 residents of the Copenhagen County completed a questionnaire eliciting information on personality traits and various health habits. The personality traits extraversion and neuroticism were measured using the short form of the Eysenck Personality Inventory. Follow-up in the Danish Cancer Registry for 1976-2002 revealed 189 incidents of primary cancer and follow-up for death from the date of the cancer diagnosis until 2005 revealed 82 deaths from all-cause in this group. A Cox proportional-hazards model was used to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) of death from all-cause according to extraversion and neuroticism adjusting for potential confounding factors. A significant association was found between neuroticism and risk of death (HR, 2.3 (95% CI=1.1-4.7); Linear trend P=0.04) but not between extraversion and risk of death (HR, 0.9 (0.4-1.7); Linear trend P=0.34). Similar results were found when using cancer-related death. Stratification by gender revealed a strong positive association between neuroticism and the risk of death among women (Linear trend P=0.03). This study showed that neuroticism is negatively [corrected] associated with cancer survival. Further research on neuroticism and cancer survival is needed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Habits
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neurotic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Neurotic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Neurotic Disorders / psychology
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality Inventory
  • Personality*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Sex Distribution
  • Survival Analysis