Health-related behaviors are now considered one of the primary reasons for poor health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and premature mortality (McGinnis &Foege, 1993). One of the keys to improving health is identifying the antecedents to health behaviors, which fall into the superordinate categories of individual differences, such as personality traits, and social environmental factors, such as low socioeconomic status (Adler &Mathews, 1994). At the time of our last grant submission, the personality trait of conscientiousness-individual differences in the propensity to be self-controlled, organized, planful, and norm following-had not been systematically integrated into research on the health process. With the support of grant R01AG21178 we initiated a program of research, including two longitudinal studies, to examine the role of conscientiousness in the health process. In the last five years we have shown that conscientiousness predicts all risky and preventative health behaviors that affect physical health and mortality. That conscientiousness also predicts many of the social environmental factors that contribute to positive health outcomes. And that conscientiousness, health behaviors, and social environmental factors are reciprocally related to one another over time. Based on this program of research, it is clear that conscientiousness plays a significant role in determining positive health outcomes across the life course, including old age. With this foundation of research in place, we propose to pursue 4 aims for the current competing renewal of R01AG21178: 1) test the effect of genetic polymorphisms on conscientiousness, health behaviors, social environmental factors and their associations, 2) extend the longitudinal studies to incorporate the effect of conscientiousness, health behaviors and social environmental factors on physical health and mortality, 3) continue our longitudinal research initiated as part of the grant into the interplay of conscientiousness, health behaviors, and social environmental factors over time, permitting us to test the predictive validity of conscientiousness in a prospective longitudinal design, and 4) determine the specific social cognitive, behavioral, and emotional mechanisms that explain the relation of conscientiousness to health.

Public Health Relevance

Health-related behaviors are now considered one of the primary reasons for poor health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and premature mortality. One of the key psychological predictors of health-related behaviors is conscientiousness (the propensity to be self-controlled, organized, planful, and norm following). The proposed research will investigate the mechanisms that explain why conscientiousness affects poor health by examining the interplay of conscientiousness with social environmental factors, such as socioeconomic status, on health-related behaviors, physical health, and longevity. We will also investigate the genetic and environmental antecedents to conscientiousness.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
3R01AG021178-10S1
Application #
8727245
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-A (05))
Program Officer
Nielsen, Lisbeth
Project Start
2002-09-15
Project End
2015-02-28
Budget Start
2013-09-15
Budget End
2015-02-28
Support Year
10
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$158,600
Indirect Cost
$58,600
Name
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
041544081
City
Champaign
State
IL
Country
United States
Zip Code
61820
Damian, Rodica Ioana; Su, Rong; Shanahan, Michael et al. (2015) Can personality traits and intelligence compensate for background disadvantage? Predicting status attainment in adulthood. J Pers Soc Psychol 109:473-89
Hill, Patrick L; Allemand, Mathias; Roberts, Brent W (2013) Examining the Pathways between Gratitude and Self-Rated Physical Health across Adulthood. Pers Individ Dif 54:92-96
Bogg, Tim; Roberts, Brent W (2013) The case for conscientiousness: evidence and implications for a personality trait marker of health and longevity. Ann Behav Med 45:278-88
Payne, Brennan R; Jackson, Joshua J; Hill, Patrick L et al. (2012) Memory self-efficacy predicts responsiveness to inductive reasoning training in older adults. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 67:27-35
Fayard, Jennifer V; Roberts, Brent W; Robins, Richard W et al. (2012) Uncovering the affective core of conscientiousness: the role of self-conscious emotions. J Pers 80:1-32
Moffitt, Terrie E; Arseneault, Louise; Belsky, Daniel et al. (2011) A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108:2693-8
Ludtke, Oliver; Roberts, Brent W; Trautwein, Ulrich et al. (2011) A random walk down university avenue: life paths, life events, and personality trait change at the transition to university life. J Pers Soc Psychol 101:620-37
Hill, Patrick L; Turiano, Nicholas A; Hurd, Michael D et al. (2011) Conscientiousness and longevity: an examination of possible mediators. Health Psychol 30:536-41
Hill, Patrick L; Roberts, Brent W (2011) The role of adherence in the relationship between conscientiousness and perceived health. Health Psychol 30:797-804
Lodi-Smith, Jennifer; Jackson, Joshua; Bogg, Tim et al. (2010) Mechanisms of health: Education and health-related behaviours partially mediate the relationship between conscientiousness and self-reported physical health. Psychol Health 25:305-19

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