Indexed on: 19 Jan '11Published on: 19 Jan '11Published in: Brain, Behavior, and Immunity
Studies have indicated that personality may be associated with inflammatory markers such as Interleukin (IL)-6. One pathway between personality and IL-6 may be health behaviors and conditions resulting in inflammation, while an alternate pathway involves activation of stress-response systems. In a clinical trial sample of 200 older adults, we examined associations between personality traits at baseline and three measures of IL-6 spanning 34 weeks of follow-up. Results indicate that IL-6 remained very stable over time, and that higher Conscientiousness and Openness were associated with lower IL-6 across the entire 34 week period. Goal striving was the active subcomponent of Conscientiousness, while aesthetic interests was the active subcomponent of Openness in IL-6 associations. Common health behaviors and chronic illness accounted for only a portion of these effects, suggesting that other behavioral and/or physiological processes may also predispose some persons to inflammation. Personality phenotype may provide useful prognostic information for inflammation. Older adults lower in Conscientiousness and Openness constitute a target population for anti-inflammatory interventions. Openness and Conscientiousness predicts 32-week patterns of Interleukin-6 in older persons.