Neuroticism and cynicism and risk of death in middle-aged men: The Western Electric study

S. J. Almada, A. B. Zonderman, R. B. Shekelle, A. R. Dyer*, M. L. Daviglus, P. T. Costa, J. Stamler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


MMPI measures of neuroticism (N) and of cynicism (C) were obtained at the initial examination of 1871 employed, middle-aged men in Chicago. Neither N nor C was significantly associated cross-sectionally with systolic blood pressure or serum cholesterol, but both were positively associated with cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption. N was not significantly associated with risk of death from coronary disease, other cardiovascular diseases, cancer, all other causes combined, or all causes combined after adjustment for C, age, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, systolic blood pressure, and serum cholesterol. C was significantly associated with coronary death and total mortality after adjustment for N and the other variables listed above, and relative risks of 1.4 to 1.6 were observed for all endpoints. These results support the idea that neuroticism is not associated with major causes of mortality, but that cynicism is associated with several causes. The associations between cynicism and mortality may be mediated by cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol consumption since adjustment for these factors may have been incomplete due to correlation between cynicism and errors in self-reported data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-175
Number of pages11
JournalPsychosomatic medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology


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