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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Tim Bogg

Abstract

Personality traits are important and reliable predictors of health outcomes and health-related behaviors, yet examining only main effects does not allow an examination of possible synergistic effects of traits (and their related lower-order facets) on health behaviors (Hampson & Friedman, 2008). Guided by Cybernetic Big Five Theory (CB5T; DeYoung, 2015), the present study examined three samples of U.S. adults recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk (total N = 2879) to test main and moderated effects of broad Big Five traits and trait facets on physical activity while accounting relevant background factors such as age, sex, education, income, body mass index, health status, physical limitations, and self-efficacy. Results showed robust main effects of extraversion and activity facet on physical activity engagement (especially strenuous activity) across all three samples. A multiplicative effect of high levels of extraversion, high levels of neuroticism, and low levels of physical limitations predicted greater levels of engagement in mild physical activity as measured by the Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire. A second multiplicative effect of high levels of the activity facet, low levels of the industriousness facet, and good health status predicted greater engagement in strenuous physical activity as measured by the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Although interaction effects were not replicated directly (i.e., among the three samples) or conceptually (i.e., across the two measures of physical activity, the present study marks an appropriate starting point for enhancing an understanding of the interactions that connect broad stability and plasticity tendencies of the personality system and their associated effects on health-related behaviors, such as leisure-time physical activity. It is suggested that future research test the CB5T by combining cross-sectional findings with experimental and/or longitudinal data to inform a greater understanding of the mechanistic workings of the personality system and its influence on physical activity engagement.

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