Investigating Personality Factors in Patients with Asthma




Najjab, Aysha Gabrielle

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Traits defined by the Five-Factor Model (FFM) of personality have been linked to physical health, leading to treatment implications and psychophysiological conceptualizations. Previous studies have reported a consistent association between neuroticism and asthma. This study aims to reinforce this finding and further its scope by looking at all five personality traits and lifetime asthma diagnosis. The current study examined associations between personality traits and lifetime asthma diagnosis in a sample of 3,993 participants and, for the purposes of replication, a second sample of 1,692 participant siblings. Personality was measured at a single time point in adulthood (mean age: 53 years), while asthma diagnosis by a medical professional was self-reported across three time points over a range of 54 years. A binary logistic regression was performed to examine the association between FFM personality traits and the likelihood of having endorsed asthma at any time point. Higher scores in the traits of neuroticism (β = 0.024, p = .03, OR = 1.025) and openness (β = 0.041, p < .001, OR = 1.042) were associated with increased risk of lifetime asthma diagnosis, while the trait of conscientiousness (β = -0.034, p = .009, OR = 0.967) was associated with decreased risk of lifetime asthma diagnosis. The associations with neuroticism and openness were replicated in the sibling sample. These findings suggest that research into certain personality traits might help us better understand psychophysiological connections. Neuroticism, openness, and conscientiousness might be salient factors in developing asthma education and treatment.

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