Personality, Health Behaviors, And Physical Health In Non-clinical And Oncology Samples
Personality is a major predictor of physical health. While much information on this association exists, inconsistencies are present, and it is unknown whether findings from non-clinical samples generalize to patients with chronic and serious illnesses. Therefore, we aimed to contribute to this knowledge base through analysis of a cross-sectional study on the personality and health of adults with and without cancer diagnoses. A sample of 168 participants with no cancer histories, 212 men with prostate cancer, and 55 women with breast cancer completed the Mini-IPIP Big Five personality survey as well as brief measures of health behaviors and physical health. Results indicated that personality was associated with health behaviors and physical health across samples. Consistent with our hypotheses, conscientiousness and neuroticism had the most robust associations, with higher conscientiousness and lower neuroticism explaining better health behaviors and better physical health (health behavior rmax = -.23, physical health rmax = -.31). Higher extraversion was also associated with some indicators of better physical health (rmax = .20). Consistent with our hypotheses, correlations for openness were relatively small (health behavior rmax = .15, physical health rmax = .11). Associations for agreeableness were sporadic. Interactions showed a few differences between the non-clinical and oncology samples. Overall, personality is important for health behaviors and physical health in non-clinical and oncology samples. Findings suggest the need for more research on the implications of personality in samples of patients with chronic and serious illnesses.