Background: The object of this study was to identify temperament patterns in the Finnish population, and to determine the relationship between these profiles and life habits, socioeconomic status, and health.
Methods/principal findings: A cluster analysis of the Temperament and Character Inventory subscales was performed on 3,761 individuals from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 and replicated on 2,097 individuals from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns study. Clusters were formed using the k-means method and their relationship with 115 variables from the areas of life habits, socioeconomic status and health was examined.
Results: Four clusters were identified for both genders. Individuals from Cluster I are characterized by high persistence, low extravagance and disorderliness. They have healthy life habits, and lowest scores in most of the measures for psychiatric disorders. Cluster II individuals are characterized by low harm avoidance and high novelty seeking. They report the best physical capacity and highest level of income, but also high rate of divorce, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Individuals from Cluster III are not characterized by any extreme characteristic. Individuals from Cluster IV are characterized by high levels of harm avoidance, low levels of exploratory excitability and attachment, and score the lowest in most measures of health and well-being.
Conclusions: This study shows that the temperament subscales do not distribute randomly but have an endogenous structure, and that these patterns have strong associations to health, life events, and well-being.