Personality and smoking: individual-participant meta-analysis of nine cohort studies

Christian Hakulinen, Mirka Hintsanen, Marcus R Munafò, Marianna Virtanen, Mika Kivimäki, George David Batty, Markus Jokela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


AIMS: To investigate cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between personality and smoking, and test whether socio-demographic factors modify these associations.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional and longitudinal individual-participant meta-analysis.

SETTING: Nine cohort studies from Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 79 757 men and women (mean age = 50.8 years).

MEASUREMENTS: Personality traits of the five-factor model (extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience) were used as exposures. Outcomes were current smoking status (current smoker, ex-smoker and never smoker), smoking initiation, smoking relapse and smoking cessation. Associations between personality and smoking were modelled using logistic and multinomial logistic regression, and study-specific findings were combined using random-effect meta-analysis.

FINDINGS: Current smoking was associated with higher extraversion [odds ratio per 1 standard deviation increase in the score: 1.16; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.08-1.24], higher neuroticism (1.19; 95% CI = 1.13-1.26) and lower conscientiousness (95% CI = 0.88; 0.83-0.94). Among non-smokers, smoking initiation during the follow-up period was predicted prospectively by higher extraversion (1.22; 95% CI = 1.04-1.43) and lower conscientiousness (0.80; 95% CI = 0.68-0.93), whereas higher neuroticism (1.16; 95% CI = 1.04-1.30) predicted smoking relapse among ex-smokers. Among smokers, smoking cessation was negatively associated with neuroticism (0.91; 95% CI = 0.87-0.96). Socio-demographic variables did not appear to modify the associations between personality and smoking.

CONCLUSIONS: Adult smokers have higher extraversion, higher neuroticism and lower conscientiousness personality scores than non-smokers. Initiation into smoking is associated positively with higher extraversion and lower conscientiousness, while relapse to smoking among ex-smokers is associated with higher neuroticism.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 Society for the Study of Addiction.

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Tobacco and Alcohol

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