Can the influence of childhood socioeconomic status on men’s and women’s adult body mass be explained by adult socioeconomic status or personality? Findings from a national sample.
Chapman, Benjamin P.
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CitationChapman, Benjamin P., Kevin Fiscella, Paul Duberstein, Maria Coletta, and Ichiro Kawachi. 2009. “Can the Influence of Childhood Socioeconomic Status on Men’s and Women’s Adult Body Mass Be Explained by Adult Socioeconomic Status or Personality? Findings from a National Sample.” Health Psychology 28 (4): 419–27. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015212.
AbstractObjectives: On the basis of a life-course risk-chain framework, the authors examined whether (a) residual associations between childhood socioeconomic status (SES) and adult obesity and body mass index (BMI) would be observed in women but not men after adjusting for adult SES, (b) adult Big Five personality traits would be associated with adult body mass in both genders, and (c) personality would explain unique variation in outcomes beyond child and adult SES. Design: National survey (Midlife Development in the United States study; N = 2,922). Main Outcome Measures: BMI and obesity. Results: (a) In both genders, association between childhood SES and adult obesity were accounted for entirely by adult SES, but its effect on adult BMI was observed only in women; (b) higher conscientiousness was associated with lower obesity prevalence and BMI in both genders, although more strongly in women, and in men, greater obesity prevalence was associated with higher agreeableness and neuroticism; and (c) personality explained unique outcome variation in both genders. Conclusions: Early social disadvantage may affect adult weight status more strongly in women owing to gender differences in the timing and nature of weight-management socialization. Personality may enhance or detract from risks incurred by childhood or adulthood SES in either gender, necessitating the consideration of dispositional differences in prevention and intervention programs.
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