The Hawaii Personality and Health cohort is one of the most valuable data sets currently available for studying childhood personality traits as prospective predictors of life outcomes. The study began over 50 years ago with teacher ratings of personality in a large multi-ethnic cohort of elementary school children in Hawaii (n = 2,418). Starting in 1998, researchers have located and recruited participants for adult follow up assessments. Over the past fifteen years these have included a baseline clinic visit to assess objective health markers, cognitive abilities and personality, five mailed out questionnaires to participants, and one questionnaire to their parents. These assessments have included sophisticated measures of personality using multiple rater perspectives, measures of health outcomes, and measures of potential mechanisms to account for the lifespan associations between personality and health. The data have produced many novel and important results. Initially, the childhood personality assessments were influential in establishing the current accepted model of personality, the Big Five approach. Subsequently, these childhood traits have been shown to predict, among other outcomes, both clinically assessed and self-reported health over 40 years later. Evidence for mechanisms to explain these associations include educational attainment and health behaviors. We would now like to prepare these data, along with detailed documentation, in order to deposit them with the National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA). Archiving and making these data available to other researchers is essential for continued progress in the field. Making the child and adult personality data publicly available will provide an invaluable tool for personality researchers. Because the study covers a wide range of demographic and psychosocial variables and objective measures of health, we expect the data to be of value for researchers in fields such as demography, bio- demography, epidemiology, public health, medicine, economics, and gerontology as well as in psychology and sociology. These data will also provide pedagogical opportunities for graduate training.
The aims of this project are to (1) Prepare the child personality data and documentation for archiving at NACDA, (2) Prepare the adult clinic and questionnaire data and necessary documentation for archiving, and then (3) Generate (a) a public use data file and accompanying documentation that includes the child personality assessments and portions of the adult clinic and survey data, and (b) a restricted use file including biomarkers, health information, and any other sensitive data.
Archiving data that was collected with support from NIH is an important way to ensure that this valuable material remains accessible to qualified researchers and is preserved for posterity. The Hawaii Personality and Health Cohort is a unique study combining childhood personality assessments from the 1960's with adult follow up assessments of numerous life outcomes, including health, since 1998. Such a longitudinal study is unlikely to be repeated.