This study was undertaken to assess the stability of personality characteristics (ie, inadequacy, rigidity, dominance, self-sufficiency, and social inadequacy) over a 15-year period covering adolescence and young adulthood and to analyze the longitudinal relationships between personality characteristics and both biological (ie, lipoproteins, blood pressure, and body fatness) and lifestyle (ie, physical activity, dietary intake, smoking, and alcohol consumption) risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD).
The data were derived from the Amsterdam Growth and Health Study, an observational longitudinal study in which, over a period from 13 to 27 years of age, six repeated measurements were performed on 181 subjects. Both the stability analysis and the analysis of the longitudinal relationships were performed by generalized estimating equations (GEE). This method is suitable for both continuous and dichotomous outcome variables, by using all available longitudinal data.
Stability coefficients for the personality characteristics varied between 0.39 for self-sufficiency and dominance and 0.53 for social inadequacy. Self-sufficiency was inversely related to total serum cholesterol (only male subjects) and body fatness; inadequacy was inversely related to systolic blood pressure. Dominance (female subjects) was positively related to body fatness and social inadequacy (male subjects) was positively related to total serum cholesterol. Furthermore, inadequacy was positively related to smoking behavior. Social inadequacy and rigidity were inversely related to smoking behavior. Self-sufficiency was inversely related to alcohol consumption.
Over a period of 15 years, personality characteristics showed marginal stability. Weak relationships were found between personality characteristics and both biological and lifestyle CHD risk factors.