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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Personality and pathways of influence on physical health

  • Author(s): Kern, ML
  • Friedman, HS
  • et al.

Some individuals are prone to illness, decline, and premature mortality while others recover quickly, maintain health, and live long lives. Personality, an individual's biopsychosocial pattern of reactions and behaviors, is related to health across time, but the pathways are complex, with interrelated causal and non-causal links. Causal pathways linking personality and health include: health behaviors and habits; number and quality of social relationships; reactions to challenges and psychophysiological stress; and situation selection and evocation. Important but non-causal (spurious) links include: genes and early experiences; and disease-caused personality changes. Attending to the multiple links between personality and health within a lifespan perspective will aid causal understanding and facilitate the most appropriate interventions. © 2011 The Authors. Social and Personality Psychology Compass © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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