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Conscientiousness and Healthy Aging Workshop

Recent research has verified that personality traits predict a range of outcomes in aging including health, longevity, economic security and general well-being. In the field of aging research one of these five, conscientiousness, stands out as a singularly striking predictor, often over many years, of important health and economic outcomes for aging individuals. Research to date has been of good quality and many important findings have been replicated. It is widely apparent that a new phase of research is now urgent: investigation that focuses on the mechanisms that account for these notable actuarial successes. This workshop explored five strategies for moving into this next phase of research, related to (1) the structure and developmental origins of conscientiousness, (2) contextual influences on the trait, (3) insights into mechanisms derived from experiments and interventions, (4) potential for analyses of existing longitudinal data to shed light on mechanisms, and (5) insights to be gained from alternative strategies for characterizing individual differences.  A summary from the meeting is available.