Physical activity mediates the association between personality and biomarkers of inflammation

Eileen K. Graham*, Emily D. Bastarache, Elizabeth Milad, Nicholas A. Turiano, Kelly A. Cotter, Daniel K. Mroczek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives: The current study investigated whether personality traits and facets were associated with interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, and fibrinogen, and whether physical activity mediated the relationship between personality and biomarkers of inflammation. Methods: Personality was assessed in the Midlife Development in the United States study using the Multi-Dimensional Personality Questionnaire and Midlife Development Inventory personality scale. Data were included from 960 participants (mean age = 57.86 years, standard deviation = 11.46). Personality was assessed from 2004 to 2009. Serum levels of interleukin-6, fibrinogen, and C-reactive protein were assessed in 2005–2009 as part of the Midlife Development in the United States biomarkers subproject. Results: Lower neuroticism was associated with elevated interleukin-6, and achievement was associated with lower fibrinogen. Higher physical activity was associated with lower interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein. Mediation models suggested that physical activity mediated the associations between achievement and both interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein. Discussion: Physical activity is an important factor in the Health Behavior Model of personality and explains some of the associations between personality and inflammation. These findings contribute to the fields of aging and health by linking individual difference factors to markers of inflammation, and showing that these processes may function partially through specific behaviors, in this case physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSAGE Open Medicine
StatePublished - May 14 2018


  • Health Behavior Model
  • Inflammatory markers
  • personality facets
  • personality traits
  • physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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