Is personality related to fruit and vegetable intake and physical activity in adolescents?

Gert-Jan de Bruijn, Stef P J Kremers, Willem van Mechelen, Johannes Brug

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Abstract

Personality is regarded as a distal determinant of health behavior and has been found to be associated with health behavior in young adults. Research investigating the association between personality and health behaviors in adolescents, however, is lacking. The present study explored the direct associations between Big Five personality dimensions with fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity (PA) in two Dutch adolescent samples [Sample 1: n = 504; mean age = 14.5 years (SD = 1.7); response rate 20%; Sample 2: n = 476; mean age = 14.9 (SD = 2.0); response rate 17%]. Behavioral outcomes and personality were assessed with validated self-administered questionnaires. Bivariate correlations and multiple regression analyses were conducted, and Cohen's effect sizes were used to interpret the associations found. Agreeableness was positively associated with vegetable consumption, while Openness to Experience was positively associated with fruit consumption and vegetable consumption. Extraversion was positively associated with sports-related PA. Standardized regression coefficients for personality dimensions ranged from 0.09 to 0.13, explaining 3-6% of variance in behavior, indicating small effect sizes. Our results suggest that personality dimensions are associated with fruit and vegetable consumption and sports-related PA in adolescents. Future research should explore possible mediators between personality and health behavior in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-644
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Education Research
Volume20
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005

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