The association between personality traits and body mass index varies with nativity among individuals of Mexican origin

Angelina R. Sutin, Darrin L. Rogers, Alfonso Mercado, Amy Weimer, Cecilia Colunga Rodriguez, Monica Gonzalez, Richard W. Robins, Seth J. Schwartz, Antonio Terracciano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Personality traits have been associated consistently with health-related outcomes, but less is known about how aspects of the sociocultural environment modify these associations. This study uses a sample of participants of Mexican origin (. N = 1013) to test whether exposure to the United States, indexed by nativity (Mexicans living in Mexico, foreign-born Mexican Americans, and U.S.-born Mexican Americans), moderates the association between personality traits and body mass index (BMI). Higher Conscientiousness was associated with lower BMI, regardless of nativity. In contrast, the association between Neuroticism and BMI was moderated by exposure to the U.S.: Neuroticism was associated with higher BMI among U.S.-born Mexican Americans (partial r = .15) but not among Mexican participants (partial r = .00), an effect strongest and most robust for the impulsivity facet of Neuroticism. This finding suggests that with more exposure to the United States, those who are more emotionally impulsive are at greater risk for obesity. More broadly, these findings suggest that social and psychological vulnerabilities interact to contribute to health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-79
Number of pages6
JournalAppetite
Volume90
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

Keywords

  • Acculturation
  • Conscientiousness
  • Nativity
  • Neuroticism
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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    Sutin, A. R., Rogers, D. L., Mercado, A., Weimer, A., Rodriguez, C. C., Gonzalez, M., Robins, R. W., Schwartz, S. J., & Terracciano, A. (2015). The association between personality traits and body mass index varies with nativity among individuals of Mexican origin. Appetite, 90, 74-79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2015.02.036