Tidy teenagers live longer, research suggests. In a study of more than 26,000 secondary-school students spanning 48 years, scientists discovered orderly adolescents who are mature, calm and empathetic are more likely to live into their 60s.

Immaturity and impulsiveness as a teenager may set bad ‘health habits’ that ‘wear and tear’ on a person’s immune system and heart over time, according to the United States (U.S.) researchers.

Scientists from the University of Rochester, New York, analysed 26,845 secondary-school students who were part of the high-school research group Project Talent.

This was a nationwide survey that was made up of five per cent of all schools in the US.

In 1960, these students completed a survey that assessed whether they possessed personality traits that have been described as ‘important for life success’.

They were calmness, sensitivity to the feelings of others, impulsiveness, leadership, energetic disposition, tidiness, sociability,, cultural refinement and maturity.

The participants were then followed until 2009, by which time 13 per cent were registered to have died on the National Death Index.

After taking into account factors such as the students’ age, parental education and family income, the results suggested that teenagers who are calm, tidy, empathetic, cultured and mature are more likely to live into old age.

And those who are highly impulsive are more at risk of an early death.

The researchers were surprised by their findings because they expected secondary school to be ‘a time of personality development and malleability’, with teenage traits then fading with age.