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Openness to experience and all-cause mortality: A meta-analysis and requivalent from risk ratios and odds ratios


Eamonn Ferguson, Personality, Social Psychology and Health (PSPH) Group, School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK (e-mail:


Objectives. To test the prediction that Openness to Experience (O) is a protective factor with respect to all-cause mortality. To provide a method of calculating a standard effect size estimate (requivalent) from relative risk (RR) and odds ratios (OR).

Methods. A meta-analysis of 11 (N= 19, 941) studies linking O to all-cause mortality is reported. Analyses are conducted on the total sample and on sub-samples with and without other mortality risk factors (e.g., age, social class) controlled. The same analyses are also conducted on the studies that used indices of O based on standard measures of the five-factor model (FFM: NEO and Goldberg's adjective markers). This paper also provides a means of calculating an requivalent from RR and OR.

Results. The results show that for all studies O is a protective factor (r= .051) and this effect is slightly higher (r= .064) when only FFM measures are used. When risk factors are not controlled, the protective effect for O is .091 for all studies and .097 for FFM indices. However, a predicted attenuation is observed when standard mortality risk factors are controlled to .028 for all measures and .036 for FFM measures.

Conclusions. While O is protective with respect to all-cause mortality, the effect is attenuated by other mortality risk factors and future work needs to explore the complex independent, moderating, and mediating processes linking O to all-cause mortality.