Identification of personality types at risk for poor health and injury in late adolescence
In an unselected general birth cohort of 862 18-year-olds, we sought to identify the personality characteristics associated with involvement in each of five afferent health-risk behaviours (unprotected sexual intercourse with multiple partners, dangerous driving habits, violent crime, alcohol dependence and marijuana dependence) as well as the personality characteristics associated with a syndrome of multiple health-risk behaviours. A unique configuration of traits differentiated youth involved in any given single health-risk behaviour from youth who were not. These youth were more impulsive, aggressive, alienated and tended to experience negative emotions in response to daily hassles. A different unique configuration of traits differentiated youth involved in a syndrome of multiple health-risk behaviours from youth involved in a single or in no health-risk behaviours. These youth were distinguished by a rejection of social norms, danger-seeking, impulsivity, a very low threshold for negative emotional responses such as anger, irritability and nervous tension, and by little need or capacity for connection to other people. In planning health campaigns, health professionals need to consider the unique psychological make-up of persons most at risk for health-risk behaviours and design programmes that will appeal to them.
Caspi, A; Begg, D; Dickson, N; Langley, J; Moffitt, TE; McGee, R; Silva, PA
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)