Social support has several times been linked to psychological well-being and even physical health.

Some studies have also shown that shyness correlates stronger with introversion than with neuroticism.

This implies that less social people should score lower on physical health and mental well-being.

Note that I am not asking if introversion causes emotional stress, but rather if extroverts are better at coping with emotional stress because their extraversion give better odds for social support.

Is there any research on correlations between extraversion, physical and mental health?



2 Answers 2


Neuroticism is more strongly associated with emotional stressors in the form of depression and anxiety than is extraversion. That being said, extraversion is negatively correlated with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and self-reported lifetime mental disorder, even after adjusting for gender, age, and education. It appears that depression is moderately linked to introversion in those who suffer from depression, whereas anxiety is not linked to introversion nor extroversion.

The results of this study indicate that:

It is argued that (a) one set of traits influences positive affect or satisfaction, whereas a different set of traits influences negative affect or dissatisfaction; (b) the former set of traits can be viewed as components of extraversion, and the latter as components of neuroticism; and (c) personality differences antedate and predict differences in happiness over a period of 10 years, thus ruling out the rival hypothesis that temporary moods or states account for the observed relations.

The paper further argues that one's happiness is relative to one's ability to adapt to new situations in healthy ways, which may be augmented in unhealthy ways by one's level of neuroticism.

So, to answer your question, it does appear that extraversion is linked to positive mental affect. However, it is worth noting that this does not necessarily imply that introversion is correlated to negative affect. It appears that neuroticism is a greater predictor of negative affect, which (hypothetically) could have a harsher impact on someone whose social support system is weaker or consists of fewer people, regardless of internal / external orientation.


Research has shown that introverts tend to be more sensitive to stimulus. So, in a highly stimulating environment, the introvert is much more likely to be overwhelmed than the extrovert. In this situation, the introvert is likely to be more emotionally stressed than the extrovert.

The situation is reversed in a low stimulation environment. The extrovert feels underwhelmed, as the activity is below his level of sensitivity. This can also be emotionally stressful. So in this case, the extrovert may be more emotionally stressed than the introvert.

If we could all choose every situation that we are in, we would choose the situations that suit our levels of stimulation. Then, there would be no difference in the levels of emotional stress between introverts and extroverts.

The problem comes about when society is bias towards one or the other. In Western society, extroversion is prized over introversion. So an introverted person is constantly being forced out of his comfort zone. But if this introverted person was brought up in an Asian society where there is much less emphasis on being extroverted, then he might be much more comfortable. http://www.examiner.com/article/asian-culture-more-introverted-researchers-suggest

To sum up, I don't think that introversion is the cause of emotional stress. It is the mismatch between the person's level of stimulation requirement and with society's expectations.


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