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Psychol Health. 2010 Mar;25(3):305-19. doi: 10.1080/08870440902736964.

Mechanisms of health: Education and health-related behaviours partially mediate the relationship between conscientiousness and self-reported physical health.

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  • 1Center for BrainHealth, University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, 75235, USA.


The personality trait of conscientiousness is an important predictor of health and longevity. The present research examined how conscientiousness, in combination with educational attainment and health-related behaviours, predicted self-reported physical health across adulthood. These relations were investigated in two studies, one using a large, representative sample of Illinois residents (N = 617) and the other using a community sample with a multi-method assessment of conscientiousness (N = 274). Across both studies, structural path analyses provided evidence for a model wherein conscientiousness predicted health, in part, through its relationship to both educational attainment and health-related behaviours. The findings suggest conscientiousness predicts health through a diverse set of mechanisms including, but not limited to, educational attainment and health-related behaviours.

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