This was a study of positive psychological traits in a group of rural Italians aged 90 to 101 years, and their children or other family members.

Study participants’ homes in nine villages in the Cilento region of southern Italy.

Exceptional longevity was characterized by a balance between acceptance of and grit to overcome adversities along with a positive attitude and close ties to family, religion, and land, providing purpose in life.

This study provides a comprehensive understanding of the positive traits among nonagenarians and centenarians (N&Cs) from the Cilento region of Italy, the center of the “Birthplace of the Mediterranean Diet” (Keys and Keys, 1959). To our knowledge, this is the first study of N&Cs using mixed quantitative and qualitative methods in both the seniors and their young-old family members (Y-Os). It is also the first qualitative study of such individuals from Italy, and one of only three investigations of rural N&Cs, the others being those in the rural US mid-west, by Pascucci and Loving (1997) and Hinck (2004), which included four centenarians and thirteen individuals aged 85–98 years, respectively.

— Read on: The results were published in the journal International Psychogeriatrics.