Cross-sectional associations between personality traits and device-based measures of step count and sedentary behaviour in older age: the Lothian birth cohort 1936

Iva Cukic, Catharine R. Gale, Sebastien F.M. Chastin, Philippa M. Dall, Manon L. Dontje, Dawn A. Skelton, Ian J. Deary, Seniors USP Team

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Background: While the associations between personality traits and self-reported physical activity are well replicated, few studies have examined the associations between personality and device-based measures of both physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Low levels of physical activity and high levels of sedentary behaviour are known risk factors for poorer health outcomes in older age. Methods: We used device-based measures of physical activity and sedentary behaviour recorded over 7 days in 271 79-year-old participants of the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936. Linear regression models were used to assess whether personality traits were cross-sectionally associated with step count, sedentary time, and the number of sit-to-stand transitions. Personality traits were entered one at a time, and all-together, controlling for age and sex in Model 1 and additionally for BMI and limiting long-term illness in Model 2. Results: None of the associations between personality traits and measures of physical activity and sedentary behaviours remained significant after controlling for multiple-comparisons using the False Discovery Rate test (all ps >.07). Conclusions: We found no evidence that personality traits are associated with device-based measures of physical activity or sedentary behaviour in older age. More studies are needed to replicate and examine the nature of these relationships.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number302
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2019



  • Seniors USP
  • sedentary behaviour
  • older adults
  • personality

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