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Agreeableness and Your Health

May 24, 2023
3 minutes
Evidation Highlights
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Many researchers generally agree that personality is made up of 5 different traits: 

  • Conscientiousness (organization, productiveness, responsibility)
  • Extraversion (sociability, assertiveness; its opposite is Introversion)
  • Agreeableness (compassion, respectfulness, trust in others)
  • Openness (intellectual curiosity and creative imagination)
  • Neuroticism (tendencies toward anxiety and depression)

Some people may have very high or low levels of any single trait, but most of us fall somewhere in-between.

What is agreeableness?

Agreeableness describes how trusting, selfless, modest, and willing to follow rules someone is.

  • Those with high levels of agreeableness tend to be considerate and polite in social interactions. They prefer to resolve conflict by working together or letting things go, and find it easy to trust people and feel compassion towards others. 
  • Those with low levels of agreeableness tend to express themselves directly and bluntly, even if it might start an argument. They are more likely to enjoy competition, and less likely to trust others’ intentions. 

Why does agreeableness matter for health and health decision-making?

Agreeableness may relate to some health behaviors. For example, people who are more agreeable may be less likely to engage in certain risky behaviors, including drunk driving and smoking.

However, when it comes to other behaviors (such as physical activity) and overall health outcomes (such as disease or lifespan), there’s no clear scientific evidence on whether agreeableness helps or hurts your health. 

Overall, agreeableness is not strongly related to health outcomes, but people can use their knowledge about their level of agreeableness to focus on healthy habits. 

We recently offered our members the opportunity to take a survey to see where they fall on the spectrum for agreeableness. If you’re an Evidation Member who took the survey and received your agreeableness results, read on to understand what a high or low score may mean for your health. If you’re not a member and want to see results like these, download the Evidation app.

I scored low on agreeableness. What could this mean for my health?

If you’re low in agreeableness, you may be more likely to react negatively to stressful experiences. With this in mind, consider finding healthy methods of managing stress if you haven’t already. 

For example, you could try finding time to relax with meditation or deep breaths, take opportunities to talk with people you trust about how you’re feeling, or find physical activities that you enjoy.

Alternatively, as someone with a lower level of agreeableness, you may perceive yourself to be at higher health risks than someone who is higher in agreeableness. This, along with the trait itself, may translate to being more likely to self-advocate for your health by asking questions, disagreeing with recommendations that you feel may not be right for you, and seeking second opinions.

I scored high on agreeableness. What could this mean for my health?

Being higher in agreeableness may relate to a lower likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors, such as drunk driving. You may also be more likely to engage in healthy coping strategies when you’re stressed, such as seeking social support or reframing a stressful situation positively. 

In certain situations, however, people who are highly agreeable may be too trusting or willing to compromise. For some people, this may result in feeling unheard or like it’s hard to speak up to your healthcare provider. 

Some ways you can practice advocating for your health include:

  • Preparing a list of questions before your next healthcare appointment
  • Tracking your symptoms between healthcare appointments, so you can share a record of how you’ve been feeling with your provider
  • Do some research about your condition, symptoms, and treatment options before your healthcare appointment. This may help you better understand terms your provider might use or treatments that might be recommended to you.

Want to receive more personalized health insights? Complete cards daily in the Evidation app and, if you haven’t already, connect a compatible health app. 

Don’t yet have an Evidation account? Download the app today!

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