Get access

Personality as a Predictor of General Health in Captive Golden Snub-Nosed Monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana)


Correspondence to: Yanjie Su, Department of Psychology, Peking University, Beijing 100871, P. R. China. E-mail:


Increasing studies in human and animals have shown that personality is related to biological profile and affects health outcomes. Understanding the link between personality and health will contribute to preventing illness and promoting well-being in non-human primates. The present study examined whether personality predicted health outcomes in captive golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana). Personality was measured by rating on a list of traits and four factors (Aggressiveness, Sociability, Mellowness, and Excitability) were extracted. Morbidity was measured by occurrence, duration, and number of illnesses, as well as (mean and maximum) digestive dysfunction symptoms scores. Morbidity measurements were coded from illness history which was recorded during the 27 months since the personality assessment. The results showed that lower Aggressiveness predicted greater number of illness, longer illness duration, and more serious digestive dysfunction. In addition, Mellowness, Excitability, and age by Sociability interaction influenced digestive function significantly. Low mellow individuals, high excitable individuals, high sociable younger individuals and low sociable older individuals had poorer digestive function. The present study demonstrated that personality was associated with morbidity in captive R. roxellanae and stress might contribute to this association. Personality assessment provided useful information on individual vulnerability. Carefully looking for early signs of illness among vulnerable individuals is expected to reduce health risks, which would promote welfare in captive non-human primates. Am. J. Primatol. 75:524-533, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.