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Do Personality Traits Determine Work Engagement? Results From a Belgian Study

Janssens, Heidi, PhD; De Zutter, Peter, MD; Geens, Tom, PhD; Vogt, Guy, MD; Braeckman, Lutgart, PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: January 2019 - Volume 61 - Issue 1 - p 29–34
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001458

Objective: The study aims enhancing insights into the relation between personality and engagement.

Methods: Data were collected from 713 Flemish workers. Personality (conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, openness), work characteristics and engagement (including vigor, dedication, and absorption) were assessed using validated questionnaires. Multiple linear regression analysis was applied to investigate the relation between personality traits and engagement.

Results: Both conscientiousness and extraversion were positively related to engagement and its three dimensions. Higher levels of neuroticism were related to lower levels of vigor and dedication. No relation was found between agreeableness and engagement nor its dimensions. Openness was negatively related to dedication.

Conclusions: These results show that the impact of personality, beside the psychosocial work characteristics, should not be underestimated. Therefore, it is suggested that interventions aiming to increase work engagement should also take into account personality traits.

Provikmo, Occupational Health Services, Bruges (Dr De Zutter, Dr Janssens, Dr Geens, Dr Vogt); Department of Public Health, Ghent University, Ghent (Dr Janssens, Dr Braeckman), Belgium.

Address correspondence to: Heidi Janssens, PhD, Dirk Martensstraat 26/1, B-8200 Bruges, Belgium (

PZ and HJ have contributed equally.

Ethics approval: Ethical committee of the University hospital of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium: February 2015, EC 2015/0100.

Source of Funding: P.D., H.J., T.G., and G.V. were financially supported by Provikmo. No funding was received to conduct this specific study.

Conflict of Interest: None declared.

Copyright © 2019 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine