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Exploring the Benefits of Conscientiousness: An Investigation of the Role of Daily Stressors and Health Behaviors

  • Original Article
  • Published:
Annals of Behavioral Medicine

Abstract

Background and Purpose

This study investigated the impact of conscientiousness and its facets on health behaviors and daily hassles (stressors) and the moderating effects of conscientiousness on the hassles–health behavior relationship

Methods

Four hundred and twenty-two employees completed daily diaries over 4 weeks. Day-to-day within-person effects of daily hassles on health behaviors were examined, together with the influence of conscientiousness.

Results

Using hierarchical multivariate linear modeling, the results showed that conscientiousness was associated with lower consumption of high-fat snacks and more fruit and higher caffeine intake and smoking (in smokers) across the 28-day study period. Facets of conscientiousness were also found to moderate the effects of daily hassles on vegetable consumption, smoking, and likelihood of exercising each day. Participants with higher levels of order exercised more on days when they experienced daily hassles, whereas participants with lower levels of self-efficacy consumed less vegetables on stressful days. Among smokers, those with higher levels of self-discipline reported smoking more on days when they encountered hassles.

Conclusions

These findings indicate that conscientiousness and its facets may influence health status directly via changes in health behaviors and indirectly through influencing stress–health behavior relations.

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Acknowledgment

This research was funded by a grant awarded to O’Connor, Conner & Jones from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (award no. RES-000-23-0087).

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Correspondence to Daryl B. O’Connor Ph.D..

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O’Connor, D.B., Conner, M., Jones, F. et al. Exploring the Benefits of Conscientiousness: An Investigation of the Role of Daily Stressors and Health Behaviors. ann. behav. med. 37, 184–196 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-009-9087-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-009-9087-6

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