Diet and personality: Associations in a population-based sample

Marianne B.M. Van Den Bree, Thomas R. Przybeck, C. Robert Cloninger

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    45 Scopus citations


    Background: Large portions of the population of the United States of America fail to follow dietary recommendations. Psychological factors may contribute to non-adherence. Objective: Establish the associations between heritable personality styles, attitudes towards food, and habitual eating behavior. Design: Variables were assessed by questionnaire in a population-based sample of 629 subjects. Associations were established using correlation and regression analysis, taking gender, demographic, lifestyle and other factors into account. Results: Differences in personality style were reflected in diet. For example, hostility and anxiety-proneness was associated with greater likelihood to continue eating when satiated, while sociability and low impulsivity correlated with greater monitoring and control of dietary intake and body weight. Immaturity, aloofness, self-consciousness and self-gratification were associated with greater susceptibility to hunger and lack of persistence with increased snack and alcohol consumption. These associations differed for the sexes and were stronger for attitudes towards food than actual eating behavior. Taking other factors into account reduced the number of significant associations between diet and personality, particularly for habitual eating behavior. Conclusions: Associations exist between personality and diet. However, the strength of these associations is influenced by demographic, lifestyle and other factors. These findings have implications for future studies and efforts aimed at changing unhealthy dietary habits.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)177-188
    Number of pages12
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Mar 2006


    • Attitudes towards food
    • Correlation analysis
    • Demographic and lifestyle variables
    • Eating behavior
    • Gender differences
    • Personality
    • Regression analysis


    Dive into the research topics of 'Diet and personality: Associations in a population-based sample'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this