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Do women’s personality traits affect their risk of diabetes?

In a recent study published in the journal Menopause, researchers examined whether personality traits are associated with the risk of diabetes in postmenopausal women.

Diabetes affects more than 30 million Americans to this date. The risk of diabetes increases with age, and type 2 diabetes is the most common type. Adults account for about 90-94% of all type 2 diabetes diagnoses. Body weight, family history of diabetes, race/ethnicity, and physical activity are all risk factors in developing diabetes.

In a recent study published in the Journal of The North American Menopause Society, researchers reviewed whether personality traits were linked to the risk of diabetes in postmenopausal women. Researchers gathered data from 139,924 postmenopausal women without diabetes at the beginning of the study and followed them for 14 years. The women all ranged from ages 50 to 79 years, and all came from the Women’s Health Initiative.

Researchers found that during the 14 years of follow-up, 19,240 women enrolled in the study developed type 2 diabetes. Researchers compared women that were least optimistic with those that were optimistic, finding a correlation between women’s personality traits and diabetes risk. The researchers reported that those with the most optimism had a 12% lower risk of diabetes. The results also show women that expressed negative emotions had a 9% and 17% higher risk of diabetes. The connection with the risk of diabetes was stronger in obese women than non-obese women.

Women with low optimism, high negativity, and high hostility were at a higher risk of diabetes than those with high optimism. Researchers suggested the use of personality traits in helping to identify women at higher risks for developing diabetes and provide them with a more personalized education and treatment and prevention strategies.

Written by Nicole A. Brown, MS

References:

  1. Luo, J., Manson, J.E., Weitlauf, J.C., Shadyab, A.H., Rapp, S.R., Garcia, L., . . . Hendryx, M. (2019). Personality traits and diabetes incidence among postmenopausal women. Retrieved from https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/publishahead/Personality_traits_and_diabetes_incidence_among.97427.aspx
  2. The North American Menopause Society. (2019). Your personality could put you at greater risk for developing diabetes. Retrieved from https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/press-release/personality-traits-and-diabetes-risk-1-23-19.pdf
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