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Associations of Personality Traits With Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation in a Swiss Community Sample


Wagner, En-Young N; Ajdacic-Gross, Vladeta; Strippoli, Marie-Pierre F; Gholam-Rezaee, Mehdi; Glaus, Jennifer; Vandeleur, Caroline; Castelao, Enrique; Vollenweider, Peter; Preisig, Martin; von Känel, Roland (2019). Associations of Personality Traits With Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation in a Swiss Community Sample. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10:819.

Abstract

Objective: Among the major dimensions of personality, high Neuroticism and low Conscientiousness have frequently been linked to worse health-related behaviors and poor health outcomes. However, studies on the association between personality traits and biomarkers of chronic low-grade inflammation reflecting increased morbidity and mortality risk are sparse; therefore, the aim of this study was to explore this association.

Methods: A population-based Swiss sample of 2,182 persons (40-82 years, 42% men) completed a comprehensive personality questionnaire (NEO Five-Factor Inventory-Revised). Circulating levels of inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, and levels of the “cardioprotective” adipo(cyto)kine adiponectin were also determined. Analyses controlled for sociodemographic factors, traditional cardiovascular risk factors and lifetime psychiatric disorders using a validated semi-structured psychiatric interview. The role of gender as a moderator of the personality-inflammation link was additionally explored.

Results: Controlling for all covariates, higher Extraversion (β = 0.092, 95%CI 0.004-0.180) was positively associated with higher IL-6 levels, and higher Conscientiousness (β = -0.095, 95%CI -0.180-[-0.009]) were significantly associated with lower IL-6 levels (all p-values < 0.05). Neuroticism and Agreeableness showed no significant association with any inflammatory biomarker. The associations between personality traits and inflammatory markers were not moderated by gender.

Conclusions: Conscientiousness seems to be inversely related to chronic low-grade inflammation as measured by IL-6 levels, compatible with protection from the cardiovascular risk. The opposite may apply to Extraversion. Further research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms and their impact for health outcomes in the community.

Abstract

Objective: Among the major dimensions of personality, high Neuroticism and low Conscientiousness have frequently been linked to worse health-related behaviors and poor health outcomes. However, studies on the association between personality traits and biomarkers of chronic low-grade inflammation reflecting increased morbidity and mortality risk are sparse; therefore, the aim of this study was to explore this association.

Methods: A population-based Swiss sample of 2,182 persons (40-82 years, 42% men) completed a comprehensive personality questionnaire (NEO Five-Factor Inventory-Revised). Circulating levels of inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, and levels of the “cardioprotective” adipo(cyto)kine adiponectin were also determined. Analyses controlled for sociodemographic factors, traditional cardiovascular risk factors and lifetime psychiatric disorders using a validated semi-structured psychiatric interview. The role of gender as a moderator of the personality-inflammation link was additionally explored.

Results: Controlling for all covariates, higher Extraversion (β = 0.092, 95%CI 0.004-0.180) was positively associated with higher IL-6 levels, and higher Conscientiousness (β = -0.095, 95%CI -0.180-[-0.009]) were significantly associated with lower IL-6 levels (all p-values < 0.05). Neuroticism and Agreeableness showed no significant association with any inflammatory biomarker. The associations between personality traits and inflammatory markers were not moderated by gender.

Conclusions: Conscientiousness seems to be inversely related to chronic low-grade inflammation as measured by IL-6 levels, compatible with protection from the cardiovascular risk. The opposite may apply to Extraversion. Further research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms and their impact for health outcomes in the community.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Klinik für Konsiliarpsychiatrie und Psychosomatik
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Psychiatry and Mental health
Language:English
Date:12 November 2019
Deposited On:07 Feb 2020 15:01
Last Modified:19 Feb 2020 08:59
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1664-0640
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00819
PubMed ID:31798472

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