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J Psychosom Res. 2012 Nov;73(5):326-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2012.08.019. Epub 2012 Sep 8.

Personality as a risk factor for the metabolic syndrome: a systematic review.

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CoRPS, Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic diseases, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands.



The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease and/or type 2 diabetes. Personality can be defined as a stable set of behavioral characteristics of a person. In this review we systematically reviewed whether different personality characteristics are associated with the risk of having or developing the metabolic syndrome.


Systematic review.


In total 18 studies were included. Thirteen cross-sectional analyses, and ten longitudinal analyses were grouped according to personality constructs: hostility, anger, and Type A behavior, temperament, neuroticism, and Type D personality. Conflicting evidence was reported on persons with high hostility, neuroticism, or Type D personality scores to be associated with an increased metabolic syndrome prevalence and development. All significant findings do point in the same direction: a more negative, or hostile personality type is associated with an increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its development over time.


There was no clear association between personality measures and the occurrence and development of the metabolic syndrome. There is, however, a cluster of risk factors that include the presence of the metabolic syndrome, as well as a more negative prone personality style, that both predispose to the development of coronary heart disease and diabetes. Future studies should investigate the role of personality measures in the development of these conditions, while taking into account metabolic syndrome, lifestyle and socio-demographic factors.

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