Big-Five personality traits and body mass index (BMI) in Japan: A cross-sectional and longitudinal study

[Speaker] Hirashima, Taro:1
[Co-author] Ito, Hiroyuki:2, Tani, Iori:3, Tsubota, Yuki:1,4, Oshio, Atsushi:5, Abe, Shingo:6, Kawamoto, Tetsuya:4,7, Terracciano, Antonio:8, Sutin, Angelina:8
1:Nagoya University (Japan), 2:Hamamatsu University School Medicine (Japan), 3:Tokai Gakuen University (Japan), 4:Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Japan), 5:Waseda University (Japan), 6:Baika Women's University (Japan), 7:The University of Tokyo (Japan), 8:Florida State University (United States of America)

The association between personality traits and variables of epidemiological interest is an emerging research topic in psychology and public health. Recent studies call into question the relevance of Conscientiousness to body mass index (BMI) in Asian populations. We explored cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between the Big-Five personality traits and BMI among Japanese adults. We analyzed the 2012-2013 datasets (2112 males, 2476 females, M = 54.5±12.9 year-old) from the micro data from the Preference Parameters Study of Osaka University's 21st Century COE Program. Controlling for demographic and socioeconomic variables (age, gender, marital status, and household income), Extraversion was associated with higher BMI, whereas conscientiousness had inverse association in the cross-sectional analysis. Furthermore, conscientiousness was protective against increases in BMI over the one-year follow-up. These results suggest that conscientiousness is as important in preventing overweight/obesity in Japan as in Western countries.
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