Personality traits associated with caffeine intake and smoking

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Jun 30;31(5):997-1005. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2007.02.006. Epub 2007 Feb 15.


Objectives: Some studies find a relationship between certain personality traits, as impulsivity or sensation seeking, and caffeine consumption, but these studies do not consider the potential confounding effect of smoking on caffeine intake, a co-occurrence that has been well demonstrated in epidemiological and clinical studies. The main objective of this cross-sectional study was to analyze the association of personality with caffeine intake controlling for the effects of smoking; a secondary objective was to explore the effect of caffeine intake on the previously known relationship between personality and smoking.

Methods: A sample of 498 adults answered a self-questionnaire including socio-demographic variables, and items regarding consumption of tobacco and caffeine. Personality was measured by the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI-125). We analyzed the association of personality traits with both caffeine intake and smoking, controlling the possible confounding effects of sex, age and each substance with the other one.

Results: Logistic regression analyses showed that the temperamental dimension of novelty seeking was associated with heavy caffeine consumption (>200 mg/day) (adjusted OR=2.0; 95% CI: 1.1-3.9), controlling for the effect of smoking. Moreover, novelty seeking was associated with both smoking (adjusted OR=1.8; 95% CI: 1.1-2.9) and heavy smoking (>20 cigarettes/day) (adjusted OR=1.8; 95% CI: 1.0-3.7), after controlling for the effect of caffeine intake.

Conclusion: Our study offers an epidemiological evidence of the relationship of novelty seeking, considered to be associated with low basal dopaminergic activity, with both nicotine consumption and heavy caffeine intake, two substances that enhance dopaminergic neurotransmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology*
  • Character
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Nicotine / pharmacology
  • Nicotinic Agonists / pharmacology
  • Personality / physiology*
  • Personality Tests
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Temperament / physiology


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine