Personality Traits and Body Weight Measures: Concurrent and Across-Time Associations


  • This study was conducted at the Tel Aviv Medical Center, as part of the Tel Aviv Medical Center Inflammation Survey (TAMCIS). This study was supported by grant 788/09 from the Israel Science Foundation (ISF), and by grant 2009/41/A from the Israel National Institute for Health Policy and Health Services Research.

Correspondence to: Galit Armon, University of Haifa, Department of Psychology, Haifa, Israel.



We tested the possibility that the five-factor model of personality is associated with three measures of body weight and with changes in their levels over time and that these associations are gender specific. The study was conducted at two points of time, Time 1 (2664 participants) and Time 2 (1492 participants), over approximately 4 years, controlling for gender, age, education, and having a chronic disease. Body weight was assessed by body mass index, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, and the five-factor model by Saucier's Mini-Markers. Cross-sectional regression results indicated that conscientiousness was negatively associated with the three body weight measures, whereas neuroticism and extraversion were positively associated with the three body weight measures. The longitudinal regression results indicate that extraversion was associated with an increase in two of the body weight measures. Neuroticism was associated with increase in all three body weight measures and more strongly for women than for men. Openness was associated with a decrease in all three body weight measures for women, but this association was not significant for men. These findings help identify personality traits that lead to risk of weight gain and point to the modifying role of gender. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.