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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Personality, health, and brain integrity: The Lothian Birth Cohort Study 1936.
Author(s): Booth, Tom
Mõttus, Rene
Corley, Janie
Gow, Alan J
Henderson, Ross D
Muñoz Maniega, Susana
Murray, Catherine
Royle, Natalie A
Sprooten, Emma
Valdés Hernández, Maria C
Bastin, Mark E
Penke, Lars
Starr, John M
Wardlaw, Joanna M
Deary, Ian J
Keywords: Five factor model
brain volume
white matter hyperintensities
fractional anisotropy
health behaviours
Issue Date: 1-Dec-2014
Citation: Booth T, Mõttus R, Corley J, Gow AJ, Henderson RD, Muñoz Maniega S, Murray C, Royle NA, Sprooten E, Valdés Hernández MC, Bastin ME, Penke L, Starr JM, Wardlaw JM & Deary IJ (2014) Personality, health, and brain integrity: The Lothian Birth Cohort Study 1936., Health Psychology, 33 (12), pp. 1477-1486.
Abstract: Objective: To explore associations between the 5-factor model (FFM; neuroticism, extraversion, openness/intellect, agreeableness, and conscientiousness), personality traits, and measures of whole-brain integrity in a large sample of older people, and to test whether these associations are mediated by health-related behaviors. Method: Participants from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 completed the International Personality Item Pool measure, a 5-factor public-domain personality measure (, and underwent a structural magnetic resonance brain scan at the mean age of 73 years, yielding 3 measures of whole brain integrity: average white matter fractional anisotropy (FA), brain-tissue loss, and white matter hyperintensities (N = 529 to 565). Correlational and mediation analyses were used to test the potential mediating effects of health-related behaviors on the associations between personality and integrity. Results: Lower conscientiousness was consistently associated with brain-tissue loss (β = −0.11, p < 0.01), lower FA (β = 0.16, p < 0.001) and white matter hyperintensities (β = −0.10, p < 0.05). Smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, physical activity, body mass index and a composite health-behavior variable displayed significant associations with measures of brain integrity (range of r = 0.10 to 0.25). The direct effects of conscientiousness on brain integrity were mediated to some degree by health behaviors, with the proportions of explained direct effects ranging from 0.1% to 13.7%. Conclusion: Conscientiousness was associated with all 3 measures of brain integrity, which we tentatively interpret as the effects of personality on brain aging. Small proportions of the direct effects were mediated by individual health behaviors. Results provide initial indications that lifetime stable personality traits may influence brain health in later life through health-promoting behaviors. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
DOI Link: 10.1037/hea0000012
Rights: ©American Psychological Association, 2013. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at:

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