, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 343–352 | Cite as

Personality and longevity: findings from the Georgia Centenarian Study

  • Peter MartinEmail author
  • Grace da Rosa
  • Ilene C. Siegler
  • Adam Davey
  • Maurice MacDonald
  • Leonard W. Poon
  • for the Georgia Centenarian Study
Research Article


Centenarians are thought of as unique and exceptional survivors. This study evaluated specific personality traits and configurations of traits among participants of the Georgia Centenarian Study. Two hundred and eighty five centenarians and their nominated proxies participated in this study. Self ratings and proxy informant ratings were obtained for different traits and facets of the Big-5 personality typology. Results suggested that centenarians overall had low levels of Neuroticism, but high levels of Extraversion, Competence, and Trust. When compared to centenarian self ratings, proxies provided significantly higher ratings for Neuroticism, Hostility, and Vulnerability, but lower ratings for Competence and Trust. Among Centenarians, the personality configuration of low Neuroticism, high Competence, and high Extraversion traits is over-represented relative to chance. The results confirm that centenarians show several unique single traits, but that a special combination of traits (i.e., low levels of Neuroticism, high Competence, and high Extraversion) are also notable in this group of exceptional survivors.

Key words

centenarians longevity proxy rating self rating traits 



The Georgia Centenarian Study (Leonard W. Poon, PI) is funded by 1P01-AG17553 from the National Institute on Aging, a collaboration among The University of Georgia, Louisiana State University, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Boston University, University of Kentucky, Emory University, Duke University, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Iowa State University and University of Michigan. Authors acknowledge the valuable recruitment and data acquisition effort from M. Burgess, K. Grier, E. Jackson, E. McCarthy, K. Shaw, L. Strong and S. Reynolds, data acquisition team manager; S. Anderson, E. Cassidy, M. Janke, and T. Savla, data management; M. Durden for project fiscal management.


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Copyright information

© American Aging Association, Media, PA, USA 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Martin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Grace da Rosa
    • 1
  • Ilene C. Siegler
    • 2
  • Adam Davey
    • 3
  • Maurice MacDonald
    • 1
  • Leonard W. Poon
    • 4
  • for the Georgia Centenarian Study
  1. 1.Iowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.Duke UniversityDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Temple UniversityNorth WalesUSA
  4. 4.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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