Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low childhood conscientiousness predicts adult obesity

Date:
August 9, 2013
Source:
Oregon Research Institute
Summary:
Results from a longitudinal study show that children who exhibit lower conscientiousness (e.g., irresponsible, careless, not persevering) could experience worse overall health, including greater obesity, as adults. The study examines the relationship between childhood personality and adult health and shows a strong association between childhood conscientiousness (organized, dependable, self-disciplined) and health status in adulthood.

Results from a longitudinal study show that children who exhibit lower conscientiousness (e.g., irresponsible, careless, not persevering) could experience worse overall health, including greater obesity, as adults. The Oregon Research Institute (ORI) study examines the relationship between childhood personality and adult health and shows a strong association between childhood conscientiousness (organized, dependable, self-disciplined) and health status in adulthood. ORI scientist Sarah Hampson, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health, Hawaii report these findings in the August issue of Health Psychology. Hampson was recently the discussant for a panel on personality and health at the national American Psychological Association meeting in Honolulu, HI.

Related Articles


"These results are significant and unique because they show the far-reaching effects of childhood conscientiousness on adult health. Others have shown that more conscientiousness children live longer. Now we have shown that these conscientious children are also healthier at midlife" noted Dr. Hampson.

Hawaii school-children rated by their teachers in the 1960's as less conscientious had worse global health status as adults and had significantly greater obesity, high cholesterol, and increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Childhood conscientiousness was significantly associated with decreased function of the cardiovascular and metabolic systems. This association was independent of the other Big Five personality childhood traits, adult conscientiousness, childhood socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and gender. This is the first study in which all the Big Five personality traits (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and intellect/imagination) assessed in childhood have been used to predict objective health status assessed by multiple biomarkers over 40 years later in older adulthood.

In the 1960's, over 2,000 children from entire classrooms in elementary schools on two Hawaiian Islands were comprehensively assessed on their personality characteristics. ORI researchers were funded in 1998 by the National Institute of Mental Health to locate and examine the health-related behaviors and mental and physical health status of these individuals. Almost 75% of those in the original group who could be located (mean age 51 years) have agreed to participate, and over 800 individuals completed a medical and psychological examination supported by subsequent grants from the National Institute on Aging.

The physical examinations took place at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Hawaii in Honolulu and at medical clinics on the islands of Kauai, Hawaii, and Maui and included biomarkers of cardiovascular and metabolic systems such as height, weight, waist and hip circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol and fasting blood glucose.

"These findings suggest avenues for further research that may lead to interventions. People who are more conscientious tend to have better health habits and less stress, which protects them from disease. Self-control is a key part of being conscientious, so our findings confirm the importance of teaching children self-control to enable then to grow up to be healthy adults," said Hampson.

Founded in 1960, Oregon Research Institute is a non-profit behavioral research center with offices in Eugene & Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Washington, and in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This research was supported by grant AG020048 from the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sarah E. Hampson, Grant W. Edmonds, Lewis R. Goldberg, Joan P. Dubanoski, Teresa A. Hillier. Childhood conscientiousness relates to objectively measured adult physical health four decades later.. Health Psychology, 2013; 32 (8): 925 DOI: 10.1037/a0031655

Cite This Page:

Oregon Research Institute. "Low childhood conscientiousness predicts adult obesity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130809115200.htm>.
Oregon Research Institute. (2013, August 9). Low childhood conscientiousness predicts adult obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130809115200.htm
Oregon Research Institute. "Low childhood conscientiousness predicts adult obesity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130809115200.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Bupa is hoping to expand in India&apos;s fast-growing health insurance market, once a rule change on foreign investment is implemented. The British private healthcare group&apos;s CEO tells Grace Pascoe why it&apos;s so keen on the new opportunity. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Mobile apps are turning smartphones into a personal doctors, with users able to measure heart rate, blood pressure and even blood sugar. But will it change our behaviour? Ivor Bennett reports from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) AbbVie announced Wednesday it will buy cancer drugmaker Pharmacyclics in a $21 billion deal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toddlers Drinking Coffee? Why You Shouldn't Share Your Joe

Toddlers Drinking Coffee? Why You Shouldn't Share Your Joe

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) A survey of Boston mothers and toddlers found that 15 percent of two-year-olds drink coffee and 2.5 percent of 1-year-olds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins