|Title:||Big five personality traits may inform public health policy and preventive medicine : evidence from a cross-sectional and a prospective longitudinal epidemiologic study in a Swiss community|
|Authors :||Hengartner, Michael Pascal|
|Published in :||Journal of Psychosomatic Research|
|Publisher / Ed. Institution :||Elsevier Inc.|
|License (according to publishing contract) :||Licence according to publishing contract|
|Type of review:||Peer review (Publication)|
|Subjects :||Personality; Big five; Psychopathology; Epidemiology; Public health; Preventive medicine|
|Subject (DDC) :||155: Differential and developmental psychology |
610: Medicine and health
|Abstract:||Background: Some evidence documents the importance of personality assessments for health research and practise. However, no study has opted to test whether a short self-report personality inventory may comprehensively inform health policy. Methods: Data were taken from a population-based epidemiologic survey in Zurich, Switzerland, conducted from 2010–2012. A short form of the Big Five Inventory was completed by n = 1155 participants (54.4% women; mean age = 29.6 years), while health-related outcomes were taken from a comprehensive semi-structured clinical interview. A convenience subsample averaging n = 171 participants additionally provided laboratory measures and n = 133 were subsequently followed-up at least once over a maximal period of 6 months. Results: Personality traits, in particular high neuroticism and low conscientiousness, related significantly to poor environmental resources such as low social support (R2 = 0.071), health-impairing behaviours such as cannabis use (R2 = 0.071), and psychopathology, including negative affect (R2 = 0.269) and various mental disorders (R2 = 0.060–0.195). The proportion of total variance explained was R2 = 0.339 in persons with three or more mental disorders. Personality significantly related to some laboratory measures including total cholesterol (R2 = 0.095) and C-Reactive Protein (R2 = 0.062). Finally, personality prospectively predicted global psychopathological distress and vegetative symptoms over a 6-month observation period. Conclusions: Personality relates consistently to poor socio-environmental resources, health-impairing behaviours and psychopathology. We also found some evidence for an association with metabolic and immune functions that are assumed to influence health. A short personality inventory could provide valuable information for preventive medicine when used as a means to screen entire populations for distinct risk exposure, in particular with respect to psychopathology.|
|Publication type:||Article in scientific Journal|
|Appears in Collections:||Publikationen Angewandte Psychologie|
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