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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Rutgers Study Finds that Personality Traits are Associated with Health

Analyses drawn from data of an ongoing cohort study of young sexual minority men (YSMM) (The P18 Cohort Study) led by Rutgers School of Public Health dean Perry N. Halkitis, examined personality traits and their association to determine whether personality traits are associated with factors impacting YSMM health. Personality traits and disorders have the unique ability to negatively impact a wide range of health related factors, such as engaging in risky health behaviors and the clinical management of psychological disorders and substance abuse disorders. Compared to the general population, YSMM are more likely to experience a higher degree of mental health burdens, including depression, generalized anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. While previous studies have examined the impact of mental health conditions on YSMM, few studies have examined personality-related pathology and its impact on health behavior in YSMM.

[Photo: Dr. Perry N. Halkitis, dean and professor – Rutgers]

Dean Halkitis and his colleagues from New York University, used data from the Standardized Assessment of Personality – Abbreviated Scale to analyze associations between distinct personality characteristics with sociodemographic and psychosocial factors as well as mental health states in a sample of 528 young (aged 21 – 25 years) YSMM from New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area. Participants were racially and ethnically diverse with a median age of 23.47. Personality pathology varied by race and ethnicity. In addition, personality pathology was also found to be related to body dissatisfaction, as well as mental health in the form of recent depressive and anxious symptomatology. These findings indicate the complexities and intersection of health challenges in YSMM and point to the need to further consider the role of personality factors in healthcare settings.

Personality and its Relation to Mental and Psychosocial Health in Emerging Adult Sexual Minority Men: The P18 Cohort Study” was published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine.