Change in weight and personality in middle-aged and older adults.

TitleChange in weight and personality in middle-aged and older adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsStephan, Y, Sutin, AR, Terracciano, A
JournalPsychology & Health
ISSN Number0887-0446
Keywordshealth, longitudinal, No terms assigned, Personality, weight

Objective: Personality is associated with weight change and the development of obesity across adulthood. The present study examines whether significant weight change, including weight loss and weight gain, is related to personality change in a large longitudinal sample of middle-aged and older adults.Design: Participants were adults aged 50–92 years (N > 5000; 59% women, Mean age= 65.51, SD= 8.20) drawn from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Personality, demographic, health and staff assessed weight and height were obtained at baseline and 8 years later.Main Outcome Measures: Personality traits.Results: Both weight loss and weight gain greater than 10% of baseline weight were related to a steeper decline in extraversion, openness and conscientiousness. Weight loss was further associated with the maintenance of neuroticism and to a steeper decline in agreeableness. This overall pattern of personality change was also associated with both unhealthy and healthy weight change. The associations were not moderated by BMI and generally remained significant after accounting for disease burden.Conclusion: The present study provides new evidence that both weight loss and weight gain are related to change in personality.

Citation Key2019-63611-00120191017