Personality, socio-economic status and inflammation: cross-sectional, population-based study

Keith Millar, Suzanne M. Lloyd, Jennifer S. McLean, G. David Batty, Harry Burns, Jonathan Cavanagh, Kevin A. Deans, Ian Ford, Alex McConnachie, Agnes McGinty, Réne Mõttus, Chris J. Packard, Naveed Sattar, Paul G. Shiels, Yoga N. Velupillai, Carol Tannahill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Associations between socio-economic status (SES), personality and inflammation were examined to determine whether low SES subjects scoring high on neuroticism or hostility might suffer relatively higher levels of inflammation than affluent subjects. Methods: In a cross-sectional design, 666 subjects were recruited from areas of high (most deprived - "MD") and low (least deprived - "LD") deprivation. IL-6, ICAM-1, CRP and fibrinogen were measured along with demographic and health-behaviour variables, and personality traits of neuroticism, extraversion and psychoticism (hostility). Regression models assessed the prediction of inflammation as a function of personality, deprivation and their interaction. Results: Levels of CRP and IL-6 were an increasing function of neuroticism and extraversion only in LD subjects opposite trends were seen in MD subjects. The result was ascribed parsimoniously to an inflammatory ceiling effect or, more speculatively, to SES-related health-behaviour differences. Psychoticism was strongly associated with ICAM-1 in both MD and LD subjects. Conclusions: The association between neuroticism, CRP and IL-6 may be reduced in MD subjects confirming speculation that the association differs across population sub-groups. The association between psychoticism and ICAM-1 supports evidence that hostility has adverse effects upon the endothelium, with consequences for cardiovascular health. Health interventions may be more effective by accounting for personality-related effects upon biological processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere58256
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2013


  • personality
  • socioeconomic status
  • inflammation
  • population-based studies


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