Personality and earnings lost: the economic costs of work cut back days due to physical and mental health

Eileen K Graham, Daniel K. Mroczek, Lorien G. Elleman

Abstract


Personality traits have emerged as significant contributors to physical and mental health, as well as various economic outcomes including income. Few studies have explored whether personality is related to the frequency of days lost on the job due to physical or mental health issues, and the subsequent economic losses as a result. The current study bridged the health, economic, and personality variables to determine whether personality was associated with earnings lost due to work cut back days from poor physical or mental health. We found, both concurrently and over a 10 year follow up, that high neuroticism and low openness were associated with more earnings lost due to mental health, while low extraversion was associated with more earnings lost due to physical health. These findings are interpreted in light of the effects that personality may have on an individual’s career and financial outcomes, and the economic effects of untreated physical and mental health problems.


Keywords


Personality Traits; Mental Health; Physical Health; Work Cutbacks; Economic Costs

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