Investigating the Big Five Personality Factors and Smoking: Implications for Assessment

  • William G. ShadelEmail author
  • Daniel Cervone
  • Raymond Niaura
  • David B. Abrams


Global personality dispositions may be important for understanding population-based individual differences in smoking outcomes, yet few studies have been executed using measures of these global dispositional constructs from the contemporary field of personality. This study explored whether the Big Five personality factors (Extraversion, Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Intellect) were concurrently associated with key smoking (e.g., nicotine dependence, smoking rate, age at first cigarette) and cessation (e.g., self-efficacy to quit, motivation to quit, number of prior quit attempts, length of most recent quit) variables in a sample of regular smokers (n = 130). Of the 35 correlations computed, only 2 were significant: Intellect was positively correlated with motivation to quit and number of 24-hr quit attempts in the last year. These results have implications for using trait variables to study individual differences in smokers.

personality smoking traits five factor models nicotine dependence 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abrams, D. B., Borrelli, B., Shadel, W. G., King, T., Bock, B., & Niaura, R. (1998). Adherence to treatment for nicotine dependence. In S. A. Shumaker, E. Schron, J. Ockene, & W. McBee (Eds.), Handbook of health behavior change (pp. 137–165). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  2. Allport, G. (1937). Personality: A psychological interpretation. New York: Holt.Google Scholar
  3. Baer, J., & Lichtenstein, E. (1988). Cognitive assessment. In D. M. Donovan & G. A. Marlatt (Eds.), Assessment of addictive behaviors (pp. 189–213). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  4. Bandura, A. (1999). Social cognitive theory of personality. In D. Cervone & Y. Shoda (Eds.), The coherence of personality: Social-cognitive bases of personality consistency, variability, and organization (pp. 185–241). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  5. Baron, R., & Kenny, D. (1986). The moderator-mediator distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173–1182.Google Scholar
  6. Beiner, L., & Abrams, D. B. (1991). The contemplation ladder: Validation of a measure of readiness to consider smoking cessation. Health Psychology, 10, 360–365.Google Scholar
  7. Borsboom, D., Mellenbergh, G. J., & Heerden, J. (2003). The theoretical status of latent variables. Psychological Review, 110, 203–219.Google Scholar
  8. Caprara, G. V., & Cervone, D. (2000). Personality: Determinants, dynamics, and potentials. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cervone, D. (1991). The two disciplines of personality psychology. Psychological Science, 2, 371–377.Google Scholar
  10. Cervone, D. (1999). Bottom-up explanation in personality psychology: The case of cross-situational coherence. In D. Cervone & Y. Shoda (Eds.), The coherence of personality: Social-cognitive bases of personality consistency, variability, and organization (pp. 303–341). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  11. Cervone, D. (2004). The architecture of personality. Psychological Review, 111, 183–204.Google Scholar
  12. Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). NEO-PI-R: Professional manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  13. Digman, J. (1996). The curious history of the five factor model. In J. Wiggins (Ed)., The five factor model of personality: Theoretical perspectives (pp. 1–20). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  14. Eysenck, H. (1980). The causes and effects of smoking. Beverly Hils, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Fagerstrom, K. O. (1978). Measuring degree of physical dependence to tobacco smoking with reference to individuation of treatment. Addictive Behaviors, 3, 235–241.Google Scholar
  16. Fagerstrom, K. O., & Schneider, N. (1989). Measuring nicotine dependence: A review of the Fagerstrom Tolerance Questionniare. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 12, 159–182.Google Scholar
  17. Farkas, A. J., Pierce, J., Zhu, S. H., Rosbrook, B., Gilpin, E. A., Berry, C., et al. (1996). Addiction versus stage of change models in predicting smoking cessation in California. Addiction, 91, 1271–1280.Google Scholar
  18. Friedman, H. S., Tucker, J. S., Schwartz, J. E., Martin, L. R., Tomlinson-Keasey, C., Wingard, D. L., et al. (1995). Childhood conscientiousness and longevity: Health behaviors and cause of death. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 696–703.Google Scholar
  19. Gilbert, D. G. (1995). Smoking: Individual differences, psychopathology, and emotion. Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  20. Gilbert, D. G., McClernon, F. J., Rabinovich, N. E., Plath, L. C., Masson, C. L., Anderson, A. E., et al. (2002). Mood disturbance fails to resolve across 31 days of cigarette abstinence in women. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70, 142–152.Google Scholar
  21. Gilbert, D. G., Sharpe, J. P., Ramanaiah, N. V., Detwiler, F. R. J., & Anderson, A. E. (2000). Development of a Situation Trait Adaptive Response (STAR) model-based smoking motivation questionnaire. Personality and Individual Differences, 29, 65–84.Google Scholar
  22. Goldberg, L. (1992). Development of markers for the Big Five factor structure. Psychological Assessment, 4, 26–42.Google Scholar
  23. Goldberg, L. R. (1999). A broad-bandwidth, public domain, personality inventory measuring the lower-level facets of several five-factor models. In I. Mervielde, I. Deary, F. De Fruyt, & F. Ostendorf (Eds.), Personality psychology in Europe (Vol. 7, pp. 7–28). Tilburg, The Netherlands: Tilburg University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Hampson, S. E., Andrews, J. A., Barckley, M., Lichtenstein, E., & Lee, M. E. (2000). Conscientiousness, perceived risk, and risk-reduction behaviors: A preliminary study. Health Psychology, 19, 496–500.Google Scholar
  25. International Personality Item Pool. (2001). A scientific collaboratory for the development of advanced measures of personality traits and other individual differences ( Internet Web Site.Google Scholar
  26. John, O. P., Donahue, E. M., & Kentle, R. L. (1991). The Big Five Inventory (versions 4a and 54). Berkeley, CA: University of California, Berkeley, Institute of Personality and Social Research.Google Scholar
  27. John, O. P., & Srivastava, S. (1999). The big five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. In L. A. Pervin & O. P. John (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (pp. 102–138). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  28. Kassel, J., Shiffman, S., Gnys, M., Paty, J., & Zettler-Segal, M. (1994). Psychosocial and personality differences in chippers and regular smokers. Addictive Behaviors, 19, 565–575.Google Scholar
  29. McCrae, R., & Costa, P. (1987). Validation of the five factor model of personality across instruments and observers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 81–90.Google Scholar
  30. McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1996). Toward a new generation of personality theories: Theoretical context for the five-factor model. In J. S. Wiggins (Ed.), The five factor model of personality: Theoretical perspectives (pp. 51–162). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  31. McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1999). A five factor theory of personality. In L. A. Pervin & O. P. John (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (pp. 139–153). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  32. Mischel, W., & Shoda, Y. (1995). A cognitive-affective system theory of personality: Reconcetualizing situations, dispositions, dynamics, and invariance in personality structure. Psychological Review, 102, 246–286.Google Scholar
  33. Ockene, J. K., Emmons, K. M., Mermelstein, R. J., Perkins, K. A., Bonollo, D. S., Voorhees, C. C., et al. (2000). Relapse and maintenance issues for smoking cessation. Health Psychology, 19(1S), 17–31.Google Scholar
  34. Paunonen, S. V. (2003). Big Five factors of personality and replicated prediction of behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 411–424.Google Scholar
  35. Paunonen, S. V., & Ashton, M. C. (2001). Big Five factors and facets and the prediction of behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 524–539.Google Scholar
  36. Pomerleau, O. F., Adkins, D., & Pertschuk, M. (1978). Predictors of outcome and recidivism in smoking cessation treatment. Addictive Behaviors, 3, 65–70.Google Scholar
  37. Saucier, G., & Goldberg, L. R. (1996). The language of personality: Lexical perspectives on the five-factor model. In J. S. Wiggins (Ed.), The five factor model of personality: Theoretical perspectives (pp. 21–50). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  38. Shadel, W. G. (2004). Introduction to the special series: What can personality science offer cognitive-behavioral therapy and research? Behavior Therapy, 35, 101–111.Google Scholar
  39. Shadel, W. G., Cervone, D., Niaura, R., & Abrams, D. B. (in press). Developing an integrative social-cognitive strategy for personality assessment at the level of the individual: An illustration with regular cigarette smokers. Journal of Research in Personality.Google Scholar
  40. Shadel, W. G., Niaura, R., & Abrams, D. (2000). An idiographic approach to understanding personality structure and individual differences among smokers. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 24, 345–359.Google Scholar
  41. Shadel, W. G., Niaura, R., & Abrams, D. (in press). Thinking about craving: An experimental analysis of smokers' spontaneous self-reports of craving. Addictive Behaviors.Google Scholar
  42. Shadel, W. G., Niaura, R., Goldstein, M. G., & Abrams, D. B. (2000). Does the five factor model of personality apply to smokers? A preliminary investigation. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research, 5, 114–120.Google Scholar
  43. Smith, G. E. (1970). Personality and smoking: A review of the empirical literature. In W. A. Hunt (Ed.), Learning mechanisms in smoking (pp. 42–61). Chicago: Adline Publishing.Google Scholar
  44. Wetter, D., Kenford, S. L., Smith, S. S., Fiore, M. C., Jorenby, D. E., & Baker, T. B. (1999). Gender differences in smoking cessation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 555–562.Google Scholar
  45. Wood, J. M., Lilienfeld, S. O., Garb, H. N., & Nezworski, M. T. (2000). The Rorschach Test in clinical diagnosis. A critical review, with a backward look at Garfield (1947). Journal of Clinical Psychology, 56, 395–430.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • William G. Shadel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel Cervone
    • 2
  • Raymond Niaura
    • 3
  • David B. Abrams
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicago
  3. 3.Centers for Behavioral and Preventive MedicineBrown Medical School and the Miriam HospitalProvidence

Personalised recommendations