Is change bad? Personality change is associated with poorer psychological health and greater metabolic syndrome in midlife

Lauren J. Human*, Jeremy C. Biesanz, Gregory E. Miller, Edith Chen, Margie E. Lachman, Teresa E. Seeman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Personality change is emerging as an important predictor of health and well-being. Extending previous research, we examined whether two types of personality change, directional and absolute, are associated with both subjective and objective indicators of health. Utilizing the longitudinal Midlife in the United States survey (MIDUS) data, we examined whether both types of change over 10 years were associated with psychological well-being, self-reported global health, and the presence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) components and diagnosis. Socially undesirable personality change (e.g., becoming less conscientious and more neurotic) and absolute personality change were independently associated with worse perceived health and well-being at Time 2. Notably, absolute personality change, regardless of the direction, was also associated with having a greater number of MetS components and a greater probability of diagnosis at Time 2. In sum, too much personality change may be bad for one's health: Socially undesirable and absolute personality change were both associated with worse psychological health and worse metabolic profiles over 10 years. These findings suggest that personality change may contribute to psychological and physical health, and provide initial insight into potential intermediate links between personality change and distal outcomes such as mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-260
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Personality
Volume81
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Is change bad? Personality change is associated with poorer psychological health and greater metabolic syndrome in midlife'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this