Cholesterol, triglycerides, and the Five-Factor Model of personality

Angelina R. Sutin, Antonio Terracciano, Barbara Deiana, Manuela Uda, David Schlessinger, Edward G. Lakatta, Paul T. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Unhealthy lipid levels are among the leading controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease. To identify the psychological factors associated with dyslipidemia, this study investigates the personality correlates of cholesterol (total, LDL, and HDL) and triglycerides. A community-based sample (N=5532) from Sardinia, Italy, had their cholesterol and triglyceride levels assessed and completed a comprehensive personality questionnaire, the NEO-PI-R. All analyses controlled for age, sex, BMI, smoking, drinking, hypertension, and diabetes. Low Conscientiousness and traits related to impulsivity were associated with lower HDL cholesterol and higher triglycerides. Compared to the lowest 10%, those who scored in top 10% on Impulsivity had a 2.5 times greater risk of exceeding the clinical threshold for elevated triglycerides (OR=2.51, CI=1.56-4.07). In addition, sex moderated the association between trait depression (a component of Neuroticism) and HDL cholesterol, such that trait depression was associated with lower levels of HDL cholesterol in women but not men. When considering the connection between personality and health, unhealthy lipid profiles may be one intermediate biomarker between personality and morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-191
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Psychology
Volume84
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2010

Keywords

  • Cholesterol
  • Depression
  • Impulsivity
  • Personality
  • Triglycerides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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