Personality traits are associated with health outcomes including non-communicable diseases. This could be partly explained by lifestyle related factors including diet. The personality traits neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness are linked with resilience, meaning adaptability in challenging situations. Resilient people usually comply with favorable health behaviors.
Our objective was to explore the associations between food and nutrient intake, personality traits and resilience.
A validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire was used to measure diet and the NEO-personality inventory to assess personality in 1681 subjects. Linear regression analysis was used to explore diet-personality associations and cluster analysis to define resilient and non-resilient personality profiles.
Adjusting for age, education and energy intake, and applying Bonferroni corrections, openness in men was associated with higher vegetable (14.9 g/d for 1 SD increase in the personality score, PBonf <0.01) and lower confectionery and chocolate (−2.8 g/d, PBonf <0.01) intakes. In women, neuroticism was associated with lower fish (−4.9 g/d, PBonf <0.001) and vegetable (−18.9 g/d, PBonf <0.01) and higher soft drink (19.9 g/d, PBonf <0.001) intakes. Extraversion, in women, associated with higher meat (5.9 g/d, PBonf <0.05) and vegetable (24.8 g/d, PBonf<0.001) intakes, openness with higher vegetable (23.4 g/d, PBonf <0.001) and fruit (29.5 g/d, PBonf <0.01) intakes. Agreeableness was associated with a lower soft drink (−16.2 g/d, PBonf <0.01) and conscientiousness with a higher fruit (32.9 g/d, PBonf<0.01) intake in women. Comparing resilient and non-resilient subjects, we found resilience in women to be associated with higher intakes of vegetables (52.0 g/d, P<0.001), fruits (58.3 g/d, P<0.01), fish (8.6 g/d, P<0.01) and dietary fiber (1.6 g/d, P<0.01).
Personality traits are associated with dietary intake and especially subjects with resilient personality profiles had healthier dietary intakes. These associations were stronger in women than in men.