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Keywords:

  • personality;
  • locus of control;
  • self-esteem;
  • health behaviours

ABSTRACT

This paper investigates the relationship between personality traits and health behaviours in adolescence using a large and recent cohort study. In particular, we investigate the impact of locus of control, self-esteem and work ethics at ages 15–16 years on the incidence of health behaviours such as alcohol consumption, cannabis and other drug use, unprotected and early sexual activity and sports and physical activity. We use matching methods to control for a very rich set of adolescent and family characteristics, and we find that personality traits do affect health behaviours. In particular, individuals with external locus of control, low self-esteem or with low levels of work ethics seem more likely in engage in risky health behaviours. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.