Decades Long Survey suggests the ‘Deleterious Effects of Smoking that may extend to Detrimental Personality Changes’

Posted on June 25, 2019

It has been established that some people are more disposed than others to take up smoking – mostly those who are more extraverted, less emotionally stable and less conscientious. New findings have been found that suggest that this habit of smoking can then feedback and shape smokers’ traits. Researchers report that smokers display personality changes that are different from those seen in non-smokers, especially in terms of reduced emotional stability and reduced extraversion.

Health consequences of smoking such as insomnia, depression and reduced cardio-vascular fitness are known to have negative effects on personality. Indeed, results showed that smokers showed declines in emotional stability, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness, in comparison to non-smokers. Researchers hypothesize that if could be because of a loss of ‘smoking related social interactions’, residual adverse effects of smoking and due to health-related side effects associated with smoking cessation like ‘heightened risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes’ – both of which are known to have unhelpful consequences for personality traits.

This data come from 5 large surveys of middle-aged and older volunteers – ranging in size from just over 600 participants to over 6000. Surveys included information on whether the participants smoked, and measures of their personality traits collected repeatedly over time spans from 4-20 years. Despite researchers’ efforts to find positive personality consequences should the smoking stop, there was little findings to this.

However, there is also a possibility that another factor or factors like stressful life circumstances, both increase the likelihood of people taking up smoking and cause unwelcome long-term personality changes. It is also possible that pre-existing personality disposition drive both the uptake of smoking and the later trajectory of personality change over time. Future research is necessary to collect a more detailed baseline to test the possibilities. In the meantime, if you are ever tempted to take up smoking, it is worth considering that it is not just your health you are putting at risk, but also quite likely your personality.

Category(s):Personality problems

Source material from Research Digest