Neuroticism Shown to Come at a Considerable Price

High neuroticism scorers had more than $12,000 in total excess costs per capita in recent year
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Neuroticism is associated with substantial economic costs that exceed the costs of common mental disorders, according to research published in the October issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Pim Cuijpers, Ph.D., of VU University in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues analyzed data from 5,504 adults in the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study who responded to a neuroticism scale and disclosed chronic conditions, use of health services, and work absence.

The researchers found that, among the highest 5 percent of neuroticism scorers, total excess costs per capita were $12,362 for the year 2007 -- substantially higher than the costs of any of the three major categories of mental disorders. Among the top 25 percent, the costs were $5,572. The excess costs of the 25 percent highest scorers were $1.393 billion per million inhabitants -- more than double the total costs of common mental disorders ($585 million).

"There is no doubt that the effect of neuroticism on individuals and on public health is considerable, and we showed that it is also associated with enormous economic costs. Perhaps we should start thinking about interventions that focus not on each of the specific negative outcomes of neuroticism but rather on the starting point itself," the authors conclude.

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