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Journal ArticleDOI

Big 5 personality traits and interleukin-6: evidence for "healthy Neuroticism" in a US population sample.

TL;DR: The findings suggest, consistent with prior speculation, that average to higher levels of Neuroticism can in some cases be associated with health benefits - in this case when it is accompanied by high Conscientiousness.
Abstract: The current study investigated if the Big 5 personality traits predicted interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels in a national sample over the course of 5 years. In addition, interactions among the Big 5 were tested to provide a more accurate understanding of how personality traits may influence an inflammatory biomarker. Data included 1054 participants in the Midlife Development in the U.S. (MIDUS) biomarkers subproject. The Big 5 personality traits were assessed in 2005–2006 as part of the main MIDUS survey. Medication use, comorbid conditions, smoking behavior, alcohol use, body mass index, and serum levels of IL-6 were assessed in 2005–2009 as part of the biomarkers subproject. Linear regression analyses examined personality associations with IL-6. A significant ConscientiousnessNeuroticism interaction revealed that those high in both Conscientiousness and Neuroticism had lower circulating IL-6 levels than people with all other configurations of Conscientiousness and Neuroticism. Adjustment for health behaviors diminished the magnitude of this association but did not eliminate it, suggesting that lower comorbid conditions and obesity may partly explain the lower inflammation of those high in both Conscientiousness and Neuroticism. Our findings suggest, consistent with prior speculation, that average to higher levels of Neuroticism can in some cases be associated with health benefits – in this case when it is accompanied by high Conscientiousness. Using personality to identify those at risk may lead to greater personalization in the prevention and remediation of chronic inflammation.

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Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A substantial body of recent research reveals that conscientiousness plays a very significant role in health, with implications across the lifespan, and more caution is warranted before policy makers offer narrow health recommendations based on short-term or correlational findings.
Abstract: A lifespan perspective on personality and health uncovers new causal pathways and provides a deeper, more nuanced approach to interventions. It is unproven that happiness is a direct cause of good health or that negative emotion, worry, and depression are significant direct causes of disease. Instead, depression-related characteristics are likely often reflective of an already-deteriorating trajectory. It is also unproven that challenging work in a demanding environment usually brings long-term health risks; on the contrary, individual strivings for accomplishment and persistent dedication to one's career or community often are associated with sizeable health benefits. Overall, a substantial body of recent research reveals that conscientiousness plays a very significant role in health, with implications across the lifespan. Much more caution is warranted before policy makers offer narrow health recommendations based on short-term or correlational findings. Attention should be shifted to individual trajectories and pathways to health and well-being.

392 citations


Cites background from "Big 5 personality traits and interl..."

  • ...…individuals who are impulsive, disorganized, anxious, and emotional at very high risk), detrimental effects of anxiety and emotionality are reduced in individuals who are also conscientious (Chapman et al. 2010, Parkes 1984, Terracciano & Costa 2004, Turiano et al. 2013, Vollrath & Torgersen 2002)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In insights into how personality predicts concerns and behaviours related to the COVID-19 pandemic, age moderated several trait-response associations, suggesting that some of the responses were associated more strongly in older adults, a group at risk for complications of CO VID-19.
Abstract: This study examined the associations between personality traits and psychological and behavioural responses to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Personality was assessed in January/February 2020 when the public was not aware of the spread of coronavirus in the USA. Participants were reassessed in late March 2020 with four sets of questions about the pandemic: concerns, precautions, preparatory behaviours, and duration estimates. The sample consisted of N = 2066 participants (mean age = 51.42; range = 18-98; 48.5% women). Regression models were used to analyse the data with age, gender, education, race, and ethnicity as covariates. Consistent with the preregistered hypotheses, higher neuroticism was related to more concerns and longer duration estimates related to COVID-19, higher extraversion was related to shorter duration estimates, and higher conscientiousness was associated with more precautions. In contrast to the preregistered hypotheses, higher neuroticism was associated with fewer precautions and unrelated to preparatory behaviours. Age moderated several trait-response associations, suggesting that some of the responses were associated more strongly in older adults, a group at risk for complications of COVID-19. For example, older adults high in conscientiousness prepared more. The present findings provide insights into how personality predicts concerns and behaviours related to the COVID-19 pandemic. © 2020 European Association of Personality Psychology.

147 citations

01 Jul 1996
TL;DR: The World Health organization (WHO), established in 1948, is the United Nations system's authority on international public health issues and assists governments in improving national health services and in establishing worldwide standards for foods, chemicals, and biological and pharmaceutical products.
Abstract: The World Health organization (WHO), established in 1948, is the United Nations system's authority on international public health issues. It assists governments in improving national health services and in establishing worldwide standards for foods, chemicals, and biological and pharmaceutical products. WHO concentrates on preventive rather than curative programs, including efforts to eradicate endemic and other widespread diseases, stabilize population growth, improve nutrition, sanitation, and maternal and child care. WHO is not an operational agency. It works through contracts with other agencies and private voluntary organizations.

126 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The current study provided empirical support for the health-behavior model of personality-Conscientiousness, and added to the growing literature that personality traits can be used to identify those at risk for engaging in behaviors that deteriorate health and shorten the life span.
Abstract: Individual differences in personality traits have emerged as important influences on disease and comorbidity over the life course, as well as longevity (Hampson & Friedman, 2008). For example, higher levels of Conscientiousness predict greater longevity (Kern & Friedman, 2008). With these associations now replicated across diverse samples, the more important question is no longer what traits predict longevity, but why do personality traits predict how long someone lives? In other words, what are the mediating pathways connecting personality to mortality risk? The current study examined this question by testing whether three health-related behaviors recorded over a 14-year period would explain why personality predicts mortality. Most investigations of the Big Five personality traits (i.e., Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to experience, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness) focus on Conscientiousness, which reflects the propensity to be goal-directed, responsible, and in control of impulses, because of the consistent finding that higher levels of Conscientiousness confer a protective effect against earlier mortality. This effect has been found in diverse samples in terms of age, sex, health status, and country of origin, and has been confirmed through several meta-analyses (r = .11, range = 0.01– 0.38; Kern, & Friedman, 2008; Jokela et al., 2013). Findings for Neuroticism (e.g., frequent experience of negative emotions and emotional instability) are mixed. Some find a positive association with mortality risk (Christensen et al., 2002; Denollet, Sys, & Brutsaert, 1995; Mroczek, Spiro, & Turiano, 2009; Ploubidis & Grundy, 2009; Shipley, Weiss, Der, Taylor, & Deary, 2007; Terracciano, Lockenhoff, Zonderman, Ferrucci, & Costa, 2008; Wilson, Mendes de Leon, Bienas, Evans, & Bennett, 2004), others find a negative association (Korten et al., 1999; Weiss & Costa, 2005), and some report no association (Almada et al., 1991; Friedman et al., 1995; Iwasa et al., 2008; Maier & Smith, 1999). Meta-analyses have confirmed one particular aspect of Agreeableness (the tendency to be hostile and aggressive or not) predicts increased mortality risk (Miller, Smith, Turner, Guijarro, & Hallet, 1996), but studies employing a more comprehensive measure of Agreeableness, for the most part, have not found an association (Weiss & Costa, 2005). Few studies have found a positive association between longevity and Extraversion (inclination to be outgoing, expressive, and sociable; Ploubidis & Grundy, 2009; Wilson et al., 2004). Last, earlier investigations focusing on Openness to experience (the tendency to be imaginative and creative) have found that it is generally unrelated to health and longevity (Christensen et al., 2002; Maier & Smith, 1999; Mccann, 2005; Weiss & Costa, 2005; Wilson et al., 2004), but more recent investigations have suggested a protective effect of Openness and related facets (Iwasa et al., 2008; Taylor et al., 2009; Turiano, Spiro, & Mroczek, 2012). With ample evidence accumulating, it is important to identify the mechanisms through which personality traits are linked to mortality. The health-behavior model (HBM) of personality is the leading behavioral theory that suggests levels of certain personality traits are associated with either engagement or abstinence of certain health behaviors that ultimately impact health over the life course (Friedman, 2000; Smith, 2006). Support for this hypothesis is found in observations that lower levels of Conscientiousness and higher levels of Neuroticism have each been linked to negative behaviors, such as smoking tobacco, excessive alcohol use, illicit drug use, and unhealthy eating habits (Bogg & Roberts, 2004; Hopwood et al., 2007; Kashdan, Vetter, & Collins, 2005; Malouff, Thorsteinsson, & Schutte, 2006; Mroczek et al., 2009; Munafo, Zetteler, & Clark, 2007; Terracciano, Lockenhoff, Crum, Bien-venu, & Costa, 2008). These unhealthy behaviors are also among the leading behavioral causes of mortality (United States Department of Health & Human Services, 2013; Mokdad, Marks, Stroup, & Gerberding, 2004). One would expect these behaviors to explain a significant portion of variance in the personality–mortality association, however, there has been little explicit investigating of these pathways, let alone support for a strong mediating role in the handful of studies that have examined such links. One of the main obstacles to testing mechanisms is methodological in nature because well-established tests of mediation, (e.g., causal steps approach, Sobel test) are appropriate for either continuous or categorical outcomes. However, when an outcome such as mortality includes both discrete (e.g., dead or alive) and continuous (e.g., survival time) information, these types of modeling approaches are not as straightforward. Thus, in reviewing prior studies, it is difficult to determine whether including health-related behaviors in models does in fact explain why certain traits are predictive of mortality risk (see Appendix in the online supplemental materials for review of prior studies). Some previous studies did not explicitly examine potential behavioral mediation of the personality–mortality association because that was not the aim of that particular study, even though relevant behaviors were included in it. Other investigations have set out to examine particular behavioral mediators, but without providing both unadjusted and health-behavior-adjusted models, it becomes difficult to determine if adjusting for health behaviors does reduce the personality– mortality association (Korten et al., 1999; Weiss & Costa, 2005; Jonassaint et al., 2007). Likewise, studies that do compare multiple models but include both health behaviors and other factors related to health behaviors (e.g., education, self-rated health) but also influencing outcomes through other pathways (e.g., access to health care, environmental constraints) limits the ability to partial out the unique effects of just health behaviors (Martin, Friedman, & Schwartz, 2007; Kern, Friedman, Martin, Reynolds, & Luong, 2009). The studies that have examined health behaviors in a separate model have found generally low reductions of the personality effects on mortality (e.g., 0% to 26% reductions; see Appendix in the online supplemental materials). Adjusting for health behaviors explains on average 12% (0% to 21% range) of the variance in the Conscientiousness–mortality association and 13% (0% to 26% range) of the variance in the Neuroticism– mortality association, with some evidence that smoking (Mroczek et al., 2009) and physical activity (Shipley et al., 2007) may be the stronger pathways accounting for the personality–mortality association. A second major limitation with earlier work is that, although a reduction in personality–mortality association after adjusting for health behaviors suggests mediation, no statistical tests of mediation were conducted. Taylor et al., (2009) formally tested mediation through structural equation modeling with a discrete outcome (e.g., dead/alive), but found no evidence to support the role of smoking and body-mass index (BMI) as pathways between Openness and Conscientiousness with mortality risk. However, analysis of a discrete outcome along with continuous information (e.g., length of life) may provide greater power to examine the potential mediating role of health behaviors in these associations. Recently developed methods have extended the use of proportional hazards in structural equation modeling frameworks (Asparouhov, Masyn, & Muthen, 2006; Muthen & Masyn, 2005). Ploubidis and Grundy (2009) were among the first to apply this modeling technique in a large UK sample by calculating the predictive effects for each personality trait on each of the mediators (e.g., alcohol use, smoking, psychological distress, and somatic health) and the effect of each mediator on mortality risk, which ultimately allowed them to estimate statistical significance tests for each indirect effect. The authors found that higher Neuroticism was associated with increased risk of dying largely through psychological distress and somatic health, but to a lesser extent by smoking. Higher Extra-version was associated with an increased risk of dying, which was partially explained by higher prevalence of smoking. This earlier study laid the methodological groundwork for our own work, documenting a significant indirect effect through smoking, which explained approximately 11% of why lower levels of Conscientiousness predicted an increased mortality risk in a sample of older men from the Normative Aging Study (Turiano, Hill, Roberts, Spiro, & Mroczek, 2012). However, to date, this methodology has not been utilized in a large U.S. sample with multiple behaviors being tested as possible mediators of the personality– mortality association.

125 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A modest, but consistent, association between conscientiousness and a more favorable inflammatory profile is indicated, which may contribute to the role of conscientiousness in better health across the lifespan.

119 citations

References
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a different approach to problems of multiple significance testing is presented, which calls for controlling the expected proportion of falsely rejected hypotheses -the false discovery rate, which is equivalent to the FWER when all hypotheses are true but is smaller otherwise.
Abstract: SUMMARY The common approach to the multiplicity problem calls for controlling the familywise error rate (FWER). This approach, though, has faults, and we point out a few. A different approach to problems of multiple significance testing is presented. It calls for controlling the expected proportion of falsely rejected hypotheses -the false discovery rate. This error rate is equivalent to the FWER when all hypotheses are true but is smaller otherwise. Therefore, in problems where the control of the false discovery rate rather than that of the FWER is desired, there is potential for a gain in power. A simple sequential Bonferronitype procedure is proved to control the false discovery rate for independent test statistics, and a simulation study shows that the gain in power is substantial. The use of the new procedure and the appropriateness of the criterion are illustrated with examples.

83,420 citations


"Big 5 personality traits and interl..." refers background or methods in this paper

  • ...To statistically adjust for the ten two-way personality interaction terms, we applied the False Discovery Rate (FDR; Benjamini and Hochberg, 1995)....

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  • ...From MIDUS 1, 4963 (75% response rate adjusted for mortality) were successfully contacted to participate in another phone interview and self-administered questionnaire....

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Book
01 Jan 1991
TL;DR: In this article, the effects of predictor scaling on the coefficients of regression equations are investigated. But, they focus mainly on the effect of predictors scaling on coefficients of regressions.
Abstract: Introduction Interactions between Continuous Predictors in Multiple Regression The Effects of Predictor Scaling on Coefficients of Regression Equations Testing and Probing Three-Way Interactions Structuring Regression Equations to Reflect Higher Order Relationships Model and Effect Testing with Higher Order Terms Interactions between Categorical and Continuous Variables Reliability and Statistical Power Conclusion Some Contrasts Between ANOVA and MR in Practice

27,897 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, multiple regression is used to test and interpret multiple regression interactions in the context of multiple-agent networks. But it is not suitable for single-agent systems, as discussed in this paper.
Abstract: (1994). Multiple Regression: Testing and Interpreting Interactions. Journal of the Operational Research Society: Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 119-120.

13,068 citations


"Big 5 personality traits and interl..." refers methods in this paper

  • ...Using methods outlined by Aiken and West (1991), the interaction is plotted in Fig....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Continuity in clinic- and community-based samples suggests there is a dose-response relationship between depression and these inflammatory markers, lending strength to the contention that the cardiac risk conferred by depression is not exclusive to patient populations.
Abstract: Objective:To assess the magnitude and direction of associations of depression with C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)-1, and IL-6 in community and clinical samples.Methods:Systematic review of articles published between January 1967 and January 2008 in the PubMed and PsycINFO electronic data

2,360 citations


"Big 5 personality traits and interl..." refers background or result in this paper

  • ...…negative association with IL-6 differs from prior evidence documenting a positive association with Neuroticism (Sutin et al., 2010) and closely related constructs such as depression and hostility (Howren et al., 2009; Suarez, 2003) because those studies reported main effects for Neuroticism....

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  • ...This may partly explain why others have found unmoderated positive associations between different Neuroticism-related scales measuring factors like depressive symptoms and IL-6 (Howren et al., 2009; Suarez, 2003)....

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  • ...…the Life Course, West Lafayette, IN, United States c Purdue University, Department of Human Development & Family Studies, West Lafayette, IN, United States a r t i c l e i n f o Article history: Received 31 July 2012 Received in revised form 23 October 2012 Accepted 23 October 2012 Available…...

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  • ...Since the distribution for IL-6 had the typical positive skew, all values were natural log-transformed....

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  • ...Prior investigations support the health behavior model, in that adjusting for BMI and other health behaviors does partially attenuate the personality-inflammation link (Chapman et al., 2011b; Howren et al., 2009; Sesso et al., 2007; Sutin et al., 2010)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The familiar pick-a-point approach and the much less familiar Johnson-Neyman technique for probing interactions in linear models are described and macros for SPSS and SAS are introduced to simplify the computations and facilitate the probing of interactions in ordinary least squares and logistic regression.
Abstract: Researchers often hypothesize moderated effects, in which the effect of an independent variable on an outcome variable depends on the value of a moderator variable. Such an effect reveals itself statistically as an interaction between the independent and moderator variables in a model of the outcome variable. When an interaction is found, it is important to probe the interaction, for theories and hypotheses often predict not just interaction but a specific pattern of effects of the focal independent variable as a function of the moderator. This article describes the familiar pick-a-point approach and the much less familiar Johnson-Neyman technique for probing interactions in linear models and introduces macros for SPSS and SAS to simplify the computations and facilitate the probing of interactions in ordinary least squares and logistic regression. A script version of the SPSS macro is also available for users who prefer a point-and-click user interface rather than command syntax.

2,204 citations


"Big 5 personality traits and interl..." refers methods in this paper

  • ...Approximately 93% of the sample was Caucasian....

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  • ...To test the regions of significance for the plotted interaction, we utilized the Johnson–Neyman technique (Hayes and Matthes, 2009; Johnson and Neyman, 1936) to identify the level of Conscientiousness where the effect of Neuroticism on IL-6 levels was statistically significant and non-significant....

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