Now, Florida State University researchers suggest that the specific alchemy of an individual's personality -- their distinct blend of conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness, neuroticism and extraversion -- is directly related to their beliefs about others' bodies and the ways those beliefs are expressed in social interactions.
In a study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, researchers found that the relative prominence of these five personality traits, which together constitute the Five Factor model of personality, has a significant bearing on a person's attitudes toward obesity, their implicit theories of weight and their willingness to engage in derisive fat talk or weight discrimination.
Individuals - Neuroticism - Attitudes - Obesity - Weight
"Individuals who are higher in neuroticism hold more negative attitudes about obesity, they show more phobia toward weight, they talk more negatively about their body to their friends and around their children, and they are more likely to perceive weight discrimination," said study co-author Angelina Sutin, associate professor in FSU's College of Medicine.
The scientific literature has long suggested a strong connection between personality and body weight. People who score high in conscientiousness, for example, tend to weigh less and have lower long-term risk of obesity, whereas people higher in neuroticism tend to harbor negative emotions about their bodies.
Connections - Compelling - Case - Power - Personality
While these connections present a compelling case for the power of personality in predicting a person's body weight or coloring a person's body image, Sutin and her team were interested in broadening this line of inquiry beyond the individual. They wanted to learn more about how personality may be modulating body weight experiences in the social realm.
"There is a social dimension to body weight," Sutin said. "People have attitudes about body weight and what contributes to obesity. People also often vocalize their fears about how they look and what they need to do to lose weight. We wanted to know whether personality...
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