Neuroticism, cognitive ability, and the metabolic syndrome: The Vietnam Experience Study



Phillips AC, Batty GD, Weiss A, Deary I, Gale CR, Thomas GN & Carroll D (2010) Neuroticism, cognitive ability, and the metabolic syndrome: The Vietnam Experience Study. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 69 (2), pp. 193-201.

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to explore the association of neuroticism with the metabolic syndrome, separate components of the metabolic syndrome, and the number of components of metabolic syndrome an individual possesses. The purpose of this study is to examine also the extent to which any associations are accounted for by sociodemographic factors, health behaviors, and cognitive ability. Method: Participants were 4208 men drawn from the Vietnam Experience Study. From military archives, and a later telephone interview and psychological and medical examination, sociodemographic, health behavior, cogni-tive ability, neuroticism, and health data were collected. Neuroti-cism and cognitive ability were assessed with standardized tests during the medical examination. Presence of the metabolic syndrome was based on body mass index, fasting blood glucose or a diagnosis of diabetes, high blood pressure or taking antihypertensive medication, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Results: Neuroticism was positively associated with the occurrence of the metabolic syndrome and several of its components in both age-, and sociodemographic-and health behavior-adjusted analyses. Many associations were accounted for by individual difference in cognitive ability. Neuroti-cism was robustly associated with the number of components of the metabolic syndrome after adjustment. Conclusions: Individuals with higher neuroticism scores had a higher prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and a larger number of its components. On the whole, differences in cognitive ability appeared to partially mediate the relationship between neuroticism and the metabolic syndrome.

Cognitive ability; The metabolic syndrome; Neuroticism; Socioeconomic status; Health behaviors; Veterans

Journal of Psychosomatic Research: Volume 69, Issue 2

FundersUniversity of Birmingham
Publication date31/08/2010
Publication date online12/03/2010
Date accepted by journal12/01/2010
PublisherElsevier BV

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Professor Anna Whittaker

Professor Anna Whittaker

Professor of Behavioural Medicine, Sport