Lead exposure in childhood may lead to less mature and less healthy personalities in adulthood, according to a new study led by psychology researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sampled more than 1.5 million people in 269 U.S. counties and 37 European nations. Researchers found that those who grew up in areas with higher levels of atmospheric lead had less adaptive personalities in adulthood — lower levels of conscientiousness and agreeableness and higher levels of neuroticism.
In the study, researchers linked historical atmospheric lead data from the Environmental Protection Agency to online personality questionnaire responses from people who grew up in the sampled locations. Results showed that adults who were raised in U.S. counties with higher levels of atmospheric lead were less agreeable and conscientious and, among adults in their 20s and 30s, more neurotic than those who had less lead exposure during childhood.
Release date: 12 July 2021
Source: University of Texas at Austin