Healthy Neuroticism, Daily Physical Activity, and Daily Stress in Older Adults
People are typically less physically active when experiencing stress, an unavoidable aspect of life. Since physical activity has been associated with health benefits, it is important to understand what influences physical activity during stress. Research has demonstrated that individuals who are high in conscientiousness are more physically active; however, studies that have examined physical activity among people high in neuroticism have yielded mixed findings. Healthy neuroticism, a term used to describe individuals high in conscientiousness and neuroticism, may explain these mixed results. While individuals low in conscientiousness and high in neuroticism may become overwhelmed, stress may motivate people high in healthy neuroticism to be physically active as an investment in their future. We assessed older adults’ (N = 60; Mage = 70.72; 76.70% cisgender women) personality at baseline as well as daily physical activity and daily stress over 14 days. Regression analyses investigated whether daily stress predicted daily physical activity and whether healthy neuroticism moderated the physical activity-stress association. Ultimately, this study found that daily stress did not predict daily physical activity; as stress increased, individuals higher in conscientiousness were less physically active, while individuals lower in conscientiousness were more active. These findings were inconsistent with our predictions and previous research. Consequently, we propose future research directions and potential explanations for these unforeseen findings.
Allen, M. S., Walter, E. E., & McDermott, M. S. (2017). Personality and sedentary behaviour: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Health Psychology, 36(3), 255–263. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0000429
Bennett, G. G., Merritt, M. M., Sollers III, J. J., Edwards, C. L., Whitfield, K. E., Brandon, D. T., & Tucker, R. D. (2004). Stress, coping, and health outcomes among African-Americans: A review of the John Henryism hypothesis. Psychology & Health, 19(3), 369–383. https://doi.org/10.1080/0887044042000193505
Bogg, T., & Roberts, B. W. (2004). Conscientiousness and health-related behaviors: A meta-analysis of the leading behavioral contributors to mortality. Psychological Bulletin, 130(6), 887–919. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.130.6.887
Bolger, N., & Schilling, E. A. (1991). Personality and the problems of everyday life: The role of neuroticism in exposure and reactivity to daily stressors. Journal of Personality, 59(3), 355–386. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.1991.tb00253.x
Brickman, A. L., Yount, S. E., Blaney, N. T., Rothberg, S. T., & De-Nour, A. K. (1996). Personality traits and long-term health status: The influence of neuroticism and conscientiousness on renal deterioration in Type-1 diabetes. Psychosomatics: Journal of Consultation Liaison Psychiatry 37(5), 459–468. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0033-3182(96)71534-7
Chapman, B. P., Benedict, R. H., Lin, F., Roy, S., Federoff, H. J., & Mapstone, M. (2017). Personality and performance in specific neurocognitive domains among older persons. American Journal of Geriatric Psychology, 25(8), 900–908. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2017.03.006
Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, 24(4), 385–396. https://doi.org/10.2307/2136404
Dunton, G. F., Atienza, A. A., Castro, C. M., & King, A. C. (2009). Using ecological momentary assessment to examine antecedents and correlates of physical activity bouts in adults age 50+ years: A pilot study. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 38(3), 249–255. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-009-9141-4
Dunton, G. F., Atienza, A. A., Huh, J., Castro, C., Hedeker, D., & King, A. C. (2013). Applying mixed-effects location scale modeling to examine within-person variability in physical activity self-efficacy. International Journal of Statistics in Medical Research, 2(2), 117–122. https://doi.org/10.6000/1929-6029.2013.02.02.05
Fitbit. (n.d.). Charge Five. https://www.fitbit.com/global/en-ca/products/trackers/charge5?sku=421BKBK
Friedman, H. S. (2000). Long-term relations of personality and health: Dynamisms, mechanisms, tropisms. Journal of Personality, 68(6), 1089–1108. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-6494.00127
Friedman, H. S., Kern, M. L., & Reynolds, C. A. (2010). Personality and health, subjective well-being, and longevity. Journal of Personality, 78(1), 179–216. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2009.00613.x
Gale, C. R., Čukić, I., Batty, G. D., McIntosh, A. M., Weiss, A., & Deary, I. J. (2017). When is higher neuroticism protective against premature death? Findings from the U.K. Biobank. Psychological Science, 28(9), 1345–1357. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797617709813
Goodwin, R. D., & Friedman, H. S. (2006). Health status and the five-factor personality traits in a nationally representative sample. Journal of Health Psychology, 11(5), 643–654. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1359105306066610
Graham, E. K., Rutsohn, J. P., Turiano, N. A., Bendayan, R., Batterham, P. J., Gerstorf, D., Katz, M. J., Reynolds, C. A., Sharp, E. S., Yoneda, T. B., Bastarache, E. D., Elleman, L. G., Zelinski, E. M., Johansson, B., Kuh, D., Barnes, L. L., Bennett, D. A., Deeg, D. J. H., Lipton, R. B., … Mroczek, D. K. (2017). Personality predicts mortality risk: An integrative data analysis of 15 international longitudinal studies. Journal of Research in Personality, 70, 174–186. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2017.07.005
Graham, E. K., Weston, S. J., Turiano, N. A., Aschwanden, D., Booth, T., Harrison, F., James, B. D., Lewis, N. A., Makkar, S. R., Mueller, S., Wisniewski, K. M., Yoneda, T., Zhaoyang, R., Spiro, A., Willis, S., Schaie, K. W., Sliwinski, M., Lipton, R. A., Katz, M. J., … Mroczek, D. K. (2020). Is healthy neuroticism associated with health behaviors? A coordinated integrative data analysis. Collabra: Psychology, 6(1), 32. https://doi.org/10.1525/collabra.266
Hampson, S. E. (2012). Personality processes: Mechanisms by which personality traits “get outside the skin”. Annual Reviews of Psychology, 63, 315–339. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100419
Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(2-3), 61–83. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X0999152X
Hill, P. L., & Jackson, J. J. (2016). The invest-and-accrue model of conscientiousness. Review of General Psychology, 20(2), 141–154. https://doi.org/10.1037%2Fgpr0000065
Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health. (n.d.). MyCogHealth. https://onlineacademiccommunity.uvic.ca/mycoghealth/
International Business Machines (IBM) Corp. (2021). IBM SPSS statistics for Windows (Version 18.104.22.168).
Iwasa, H., Masui, Y., Gondo, Y., Inagaki, H., Kawaai, C., & Suzuki, T. (2008). Personality and all-cause mortality among older adults dwelling in a Japanese community: A five-year population-based prospective cohort study. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 16(5), 399–405. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181662ac9
James, S. A., Hartnett, S. A., & Kalsbeek, W. D. (1983). John Henryism and blood pressure differences among Black men. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 6(3), 259–278. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01315113
John, O. P., & Srivastava, S. (1999). The Big-Five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. In L. A. Pervin & O. P. John (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (pp. 102–138). Guilford Press.
Jokela, M., Batty, G. D., Nyberg, S. T., Virtanen, M., Nabi, H., Singh-Manoux, A., & Kivimäki, M. (2013). Personality and all-cause mortality: Individual-participant meta-analysis of 3,947 deaths in 76,150 adults. American Journal of Epidemiology, 178(5), 667–675. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwt170
Jones, M., Taylor, A., Liao, Y., Intille, S. S., & Dunton, G. F. (2017). Real-time subjective assessment of psychological stress: Associations with objectively-measured physical activity levels. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 31, 79–87. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2017.03.013
Kop, W. J., Lyden, A., Berlin, A. A., Ambrose, K., Olsen, C., Gracely, R. H., Williams, D. A., & Clauw, D. J. (2005). Ambulatory monitoring of physical activity and symptoms in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 52(1), 296–303. https://doi.org/10.1002/art.20779
Korten, A. E., Jorm, A. F., Jiao, Z., Letenneur, L., Jacomb, P. A., Henderson, A. S., Christensen, H., & Rodgers, B. (1999). Health, cognitive, and psychosocial factors as predictors of mortality in an elderly community sample. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 53(2), 83–88. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech.53.2.83
LimeSurvey. (2021). Turn questions into answers. https://www.limesurvey.org/
Ludwig, R. M., Srivastava, S., & Berkman, E. T. (2019). Predicting exercise with a personality facet: Planfulness and goal achievement. Psychological Science, 30(10), 1510–1521. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0956797619868812
Onken, L. S., & Nielsen, L. (2019). Targeting psychological processes related to personality facets to promote healthy aging. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 10(1), 1–3. https://doi.org/10.1037/per0000311
Orth-Gomer, K., & Schneiderman, N. (Eds.). (1996). Behavioral medicine approaches to cardiovascular disease prevention. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Preacher, K. J., Curran, P. J., & Bauer, D. J. (2006). Computational tools for probing interaction effects in multiple linear regression, multilevel modeling, and latent curve analysis. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 31(4), 437–448. https://doi.org/10.3102%2F10769986031004437
Reis, H. T., & Gable, S. L. (2000). Event-sampling and other methods for studying everyday experience. In H. T. Reis & C. M. Judd (Eds.), Handbook of research methods in social and personality psychology (pp. 190–222). Cambridge University Press.
Rhodes, R. E., Martin, A. D., Taunton, J. E., Rhodes, E. C., Donnelly, M., & Elliot, J. (1999). Factors associated with exercise adherence among older adults: An individual perspective. Sports Medicine, 28(6), 397–411. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-199928060-00003
Roberts, B. W., Luo, J., Briley, D. A., Chow, P. I., Su, R., & Hill, P. L. (2017). A systematic review of personality trait change through intervention. Psychological Bulletin, 143(2), 117. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/bul0000088
Roberts, B. W., & Takahashi, Y. (2011). Personality trait development in adulthood: Patterns and implications. The Japanese Journal of Personality, 20(1), 1–10. http://dx.doi.org/10.2132/personality.20.1
Stanton, M. V., Jonassaint, C. R., Williams, R. B., & James, S. A. (2010). Socioeconomic status moderates the association between John Henryism and NEO PI-R personality domains. Psychosomatic Medicine, 72(2), 141–147. https://dx.doi.org/10.1097%2FPSY.0b013e3181cdc00e
Stieger, M., Robinson, S. A., Bisson, A. N., & Lachman, M. E. (2020). The relationship of personality and behavior change in a physical activity intervention: The role of conscientiousness and healthy neuroticism. Personality and Individual Differences, 166, 110224. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2020.110224
Stults-Kolehmainen, M. A., & Sinha, R. (2014). The effects of stress on physical activity and exercise. Sports Medicine, 44(1), 81–121. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40279-013-0090-5
Suls, J., & Martin, R. (2005). The daily life of the garden-variety neurotic: Reactivity, stressor exposure, mood spillover, and maladaptive coping. Journal of Personality, 73(6), 1485–1510. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2005.00356.x
Sutin, A. R., Stephan, Y., Luchetti, M., Artese, A., Oshio, A., & Terracciano, A. (2016). The five-factor model of personality and physical inactivity: A meta-analysis of 16 samples. Journal of Research in Personality, 63, 22–28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2016.05.001
Terracciano, A., & Costa, P. T. (2004). Smoking and the five-factor model of personality. Addiction, 99(4), 472–481. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2004.00687.x
Tikhonoff, V., Hardy, R., Deanfield, J., Friberg, P., Kuh, D., Muniz, G., Pariante, C. M., Hotopf, M., & Richards, M. (2014). Symptoms of anxiety and depression across adulthood and blood pressure in late middle age: The 1946 British birth cohort. Journal of Hypertension, 32(8), 1590–1599. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/HJH.0000000000000244
Turiano, N. A., Graham, E. K., Weston, S. J., Booth, T., Harrison, F., James, B. D., Lewis, N. A., Makkar, S. R., Mueller, S., Wisniewski, K. M., Zhaoyang, R., Spiro, A., Willis, S., Schaie, K. W., Lipton, R. B., Katz, M., Sliwinski, M., Deary, I. J., Zelinski, E. M., … Mroczek, D. K. (2020). Is healthy neuroticism associated with longevity? A coordinated integrative data analysis. Collabra: Psychology, 6(1), 33. https://doi.org/10.1525/collabra.268
Turiano, N. A., Mroczek, D. K., Moynihan, J., & Chapman, B. P. (2013). Big 5 personality traits and interleukin-6: Evidence for “healthy neuroticism” in a US population sample. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 28, 83–89. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2012.10.020
Weiss, A., & Costa, P. T. (2005). Domain and facet personality predictors of all-cause mortality among Medicare patients aged 65 to 100. Psychosomatic Medicine, 67(5), 724–733. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/01.psy.0000181272.58103.18
Weston, S. J., Graham, E. K., Turiano, N. A., Aschwanden, D., Booth, T., Harrison, F., James, B. D., Lewis, N. A., Makkar, S. R., Mueller, S., Wisniewski, K. M., Yoneda, T., Zhaoyang, R., Spiro, A., Drewelies, J., Wagner, G. G., Steinhagen-Thiessen, E., Demuth, I., Willis, S., … Mroczek, D. K. (2020). Is healthy neuroticism associated with chronic conditions? A coordinated integrative data analysis. Collabra: Psychology, 6(1), 42. https://doi.org/10.1525/collabra.267
Weston, S. J., Hill, P. L., Edmonds, G. W., Mroczek, D. K., & Hampson, S. E. (2019). No evidence of “healthy neuroticism” in the Hawaii personality and health cohort. Annals of Behavioural Medicine, 53, 426–441. https://doi.org/10.1093/abm/kay055
Weston, S. J., Hill, P. L., & Jackson, J. J. (2015). Personality traits predict the onset of disease. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 6(3), 309317. https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550614553248
Weston, S. J., & Jackson, J. J. (2015). Identification of the healthy neurotic: Personality traits predict smoking after disease onset. Journal of Research in Personality, 54, 61–69. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2014.04.008
Wilson, K. E., & Dishman, R. K. (2015). Personality and physical activity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Personality and Individual Differences, 72, 230–242. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2014.08.023
World Health Organization. (2018). Global action plan for physical activity 2018–2030: More active people for a healthier world. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/272722/9789241514187-eng.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Yoneda, T., Graham, E., Lozinski, T., Bennett, D. A., Mroczek, D., Piccinin, A. M., Hofer, S. M., & Muniz-Terrera, G. (2022). Personality traits, cognitive states, and mortality in older adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000418
Copyright (c) 2022 Tristen Lozinski, Tomiko Yoneda, Scott M. Hofer, Jonathan Rush
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors contributing to the Artbutus Review agree to release their articles under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 Unported license. This licence allows anyone to share their work (copy, distribute, transmit) and to adapt it for non-commercial purposes provided that appropriate attribution is given, and that in the event of reuse or distribution, the terms of this license are made clear.
Authors retain copyright of their work and grant the journal right of first publication.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.