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Health Educ Res. 2005 Dec;20(6):635-44. Epub 2005 Mar 21.

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

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  • 1Department of Health Education.ealth Promotion, University of Maastricht, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.


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.

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