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Psychosom Med. 2010 Feb;72(2):141-7. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181cdc00e. Epub 2010 Jan 25.

Socioeconomic status moderates the association between John Henryism and NEO PI-R personality domains.

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Department of Psychology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA.



To investigate associations between John Henryism (JH) and NEO Personality Inventory-Revised (PI-R) personality domains. JH-a strong behavioral predisposition to engage in high-effort coping with difficult psychosocial and economic stressors-has been associated with poor health, particularly among persons in lower socioeconomic (SES) groups. Unfavorable personality profiles have also been frequently linked to poor health; however, no studies have yet examined what global personality traits characterize JH.


Hypotheses were examined, using data from a sample of 233 community volunteers (mean age, 33 years; 61% black and 39% white) recruited specifically to represent the full range of the SES gradient. Personality (NEO PI-R) and active coping (12-item JH scale) measures and covariates were derived from baseline interviews.


In a multiple regression analysis, independent of SES, JH was positively associated with Conscientiousness (C) (p < .001) and Extraversion (E) (p < .001), whereas the combination of low JH and high SES was associated with Neuroticism (N) (p = .02) When examining associations between JH and combinations of NEO PI-R domains called "styles," high JH was most strongly associated with a high E/high C "Go-Getters" style of activity, whereas low JH was associated with the low E/high Openness (O) "Introspectors" style. In facet level data, the most robust associations with JH were found for five C and five E facets.


High JH was associated with higher scores on C and E, but the combination of low JH and high SES was associated with higher scores on N.

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