HCEO spoke to IP network member Dan Mroczek about his research on how personality traits effect health outcomes.
"There are lots of ways in which these fundamental psychological characteristics that we call personality traits influence our health and indeed our longevity," Mroczek says.
Mroczek's research focuses mainly on lifespan personality development and the influence of personality on physical health, mortality, and other important life outcomes. On the methodological side, he is interested in multilevel modeling, survival analysis, longitudinal design, secondary and archival data analysis, and integrated data analysis.
"How self-controlled you are, how self disciplined you are, this influences your health behaviors and in turn health outcomes," he says. But self control isn't the only characteristic that impacts our health. Mroczek notes that things like interpersonal skills and anxiety levels are also influential.
Much of his work involves working with physicians at Northwestern University's medical school studying patient outcomes - research that interests a variety of stakeholders, from patients to insurance companies to policymakers. "It has real intersections with business and economics," Mroczek says of his work. Knowing how to get costs down or how to make systems work more efficiently could have significant effects on our healthcare system.
"A lot of waste in the healthcare system is due to individuals that don't adhere to their healthcare plan," he says. "I believe it has great ramifications for the area of human capital."
Mroczek is a Professor of Psychology and a Professor of Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University.