Personality and sedentary behavior: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Mark S. Allen, Emma E. Walter, Máirtín S. McDermott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Too much sitting is associated with an increased risk of chronic disease and premature death. This investigation aimed to systematically review the evidence for personality as a correlate of time spent in sedentary pursuits. 

Method: Electronic databases (PubMed; Science Direct; PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, and SPORTDiscus via EBSCO; Web of Science; MEDLINE via Ovid; Scopus; ProQuest) were searched in December 2015 for studies reporting an association between at least 1 personality trait and time spent in at least 1 sedentary behavior. Pooled mean effect sizes were computed using inverse-variance weighted random effects meta-analysis. 

Results: Twenty-six studies (28 samples, 110 effect sizes) met inclusion criteria. Higher levels of sedentary behavior were associated with higher levels of neuroticism (r+ = .08, 95% confidence interval [CI: .05, .10]) and lower levels of conscientiousness (r+ = -.08, 95% CI [-.11, -.06]). Nonsignificant associations were observed for extraversion (r+ = .00, 95% CI [-.07, .06]), openness (r+ = -.02, 95% CI [-.05, .02]), and agreeableness (r+ = -.04, 95% CI [-.09, .00]). Effects for neuroticism and extraversion were moderated by measurement of sedentary behavior, and effects for openness and agreeableness were moderated by participant age and gender. 

Conclusions: Findings appear consistent with personality trait associations with other health-related behaviors. More objective measures of sedentary behavior are required to make more definitive conclusions about the contribution of personality to a sedentary lifestyle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-263
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Internet
  • Screen time
  • Sitting
  • Social media
  • TV viewing


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