A positive outlook, stubbornness, and good work ethic could guarantee a longer life, a study has said.

To make the determination, the study analysed the mental and physical wellbeing of 29 participants aged between 91 and 101, from villages in Cilento, southern Italy.

While their physical health was found to be worse than their younger relatives aged 51 to 75, their mental health was in a better state.

Anna Scelzo, a psychiatrist, said: “We also found 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.

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

Dilip V. Jeste, the lead researcher, explained further, saying: “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.

“The main themes that emerged from our study, and appear to be the unique features associated with better mental health of this rural population, were positivity, work ethics, stubbornness and a strong bond with family, religion and land.”

The study, carried out at the University of California San Diego and the University of Rome La Sapienza, was published in International Psychogeriatrics.



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