Objectives.Personality traits predict numerous health outcomes, but previous studies have rarely used personality change to predict health.Methods.The current investigation utilized a large national sample of 3,990 participants from the Midlife in the U.S. study (MIDUS) to examine if both personality trait level and personality change longitudinally predict 3 different health outcomes (i.e., self-rated physical health, self-reported blood pressure, and number of days limited at work or home due to physical health reasons) over a 10-year span.Results.Each of the Big Five traits, except openness, predicted self-rated health. Change in agreeableness, conscientiousness, and extraversion also predicted self-rated health. Trait levels of conscientiousness and neuroticism level predicted self-reported blood pressure. All trait levels except agreeableness predicted number of work days limited. Only change in conscientiousness predicted the number of work days limited.Discussion.Findings demonstrate that a full understanding of the link between personality and health requires consideration of trait change as well as trait level.
- Longitudinal change