Association of personality with physical, social, and mental activities across the lifespan: Findings from US and French samples

Authors

  • Yannick Stephan,

    Corresponding author
    1. EA 4556 Epsylon, Department of Sport Sciences, Psychology and Medicine, University of Montpellier and St-Etienne, Montpellier, France
    • Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Yannick Stephan, EA 4556 EPSYLON, Laboratory Dynamic of Human Abilities and Health Behaviors, Department of Sport Sciences, Psychology and Medicine, University of Montpellier and St-Etienne, 4, Boulevard Henry IV, Montpellier 34000, France (email: yannick.stephan@univ-montp1.fr).

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  • Julie Boiché,

    1. EA 4556 Epsylon, Department of Sport Sciences, Psychology and Medicine, University of Montpellier and St-Etienne, Montpellier, France
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  • Brice Canada,

    1. EA 3742, Department of Sport Sciences, University of Grenoble, France
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  • Antonio Terracciano

    1. Department of Geriatrics, College of Medicine, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA
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Abstract

Despite evidence for its health-related benefits, little is known on the psychological predictors of the participation in leisure activities across the lifespan. Therefore, this study aimed to identify whether personality is associated with a variety of different types of activities, involving physical, cognitive, and social components. The samples included individuals from the second wave of the National Study of Midlife in the United States (N = 3,396) and community-dwelling French individuals (N = 2,917) aged between 30 and 84. Both samples completed measures of the five-factor model of personality. To create an activity index, we combined the physical, social, and cognitive (games and developmental) activities performed at least once a month. In both samples, individuals who scored higher on extraversion and openness were more likely to engage in a variety of activity types. The findings were consistent across two samples from different western societies and suggest that extraversion and openness contribute to social, cognitive, and physical functioning across the lifespan.

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