Personality-obesity associations are driven by narrow traits: A meta-analysis

Uku Vainik, Alain Dagher, Anu Realo, Lucía Colodro-Conde, Erik Lykke Mortensen, Kerry Jang, Ando Juko, Christian Kandler, Thorkild I.A. Sørensen, René Mõttus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Obesity has inconsistent associations with broad personality domains, possibly because the links pertain to only some facets of these domains. Collating published and unpublished studies (N = 14 848), we meta-analysed the associations between body mass index (BMI) and Five-Factor Model personality domains as well as 30 Five-Factor Model personality facets. At the domain level, BMI had a positive association with Neuroticism and a negative association with Conscientiousness domains. At the facet level, we found associations between BMI and 15 facets from all five personality domains, with only some Neuroticism and Conscientiousness facets among them. Certain personality-BMI associations were moderated by sample properties, such as proportions of women or participants with obesity; these moderation effects were replicated in the individual-level analysis. Finally, facet-based personality “risk” scores accounted for 2.3% of variance in BMI in a separate sample of individuals (N = 3569), 409% more than domain-based scores. Taken together, personality-BMI associations are facet specific, and delineating them may help to explain obesity-related behaviours and inform intervention designs. Preprint and data are available at

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1121-1131
Number of pages11
JournalObesity Reviews
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug


  • body mass index
  • personality
  • prediction
  • risk score

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Personality-obesity associations are driven by narrow traits: A meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this