Mechanisms of health: Education and health-related behaviours partially mediate the relationship between conscientiousness and self-reported physical health

Psychol Health. 2010 Mar;25(3):305-19. doi: 10.1080/08870440902736964.


The personality trait of conscientiousness is an important predictor of health and longevity. The present research examined how conscientiousness, in combination with educational attainment and health-related behaviours, predicted self-reported physical health across adulthood. These relations were investigated in two studies, one using a large, representative sample of Illinois residents (N = 617) and the other using a community sample with a multi-method assessment of conscientiousness (N = 274). Across both studies, structural path analyses provided evidence for a model wherein conscientiousness predicted health, in part, through its relationship to both educational attainment and health-related behaviours. The findings suggest conscientiousness predicts health through a diverse set of mechanisms including, but not limited to, educational attainment and health-related behaviours.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Illinois
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality*
  • Young Adult