Essay Example on Research on the relationship between the Big Five Inventory BFI, super traits and weight loss success.


Obesity , Nutrition








Abstract. This paper explores several published studies that report on results from research conducted on the relationship between the Big Five Inventory BFI, super traits and weight loss success. Despite generally identifying Conscientiousness C and Neuroticism N as factors of influence the studies vary in their findings regarding their effect on weight particularly for N. Some studies suggest that N encourages weight gain whereas others pose that it stimulates weight loss most agree on C s slimming properties. This paper examines studies in relation to all five super traits to suggest that further research should be conducted in order to determine the true influence of both C and N on an individual's given weight and eating behaviors. Keywords. Big Five Inventory, weight loss, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, eating behaviors. Certain personality traits might make it easier or harder for individuals to lose weight. What does the literature say about the relationship between personality factors in the Big Five Inventory and weight loss success. Amongst the hierarchical models of personality, the Five-Factor Model FFM or Big Five Inventory BFI is considered as the one that best explains unique differences in each of its individual abstract facets. The FFM and BFI are made up of five super traits. Openness to experience O. Conscientiousness C . Extraversion E. Agreeableness.

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A and Neuroticism N, each composed of six facets or primary traits itself. Weight loss if denominated as the loss of excess weight can be assimilated into health behaviors firmly established automatic behaviors that enhance and maintain one's health especially in obese individuals. Although it has been determined that personality traits affect our everyday lives there has yet to be sufficient data on their impact on our weight and the different ways in which one may approach it.

 This paper examines the available literature on the relationship between personality factors in the BFI and weight loss success in an attempt to better understand this causality. Literature Review. The present-day pursuit of thinness is a growing social problem and a major public health threat that has led to an epidemic of eating disorders in part due to personality factors. In a study on subtypes of bariatric patients and their effect on weight loss. Peterhänsel Linde Wagner Dietrich Kersting 2017 found two personality subtypes emotionally dysregulated, under-controlled EDU and resilient high functioning RHF. Although neither of the two seemed to affect weight loss in a direct or significant manner.

Peterhänsel et al 2017 found that EDU patients showed increased concern for their eating weight and shape as well as more depressive symptoms. Characterized by higher scores in N and lower ones in O C E and A. EDU individuals also demonstrated more eating disorders that the RHF ones did. Peterhänsel et al 2017 Quite similarly Poddar Hannus Allik 1999 in assessing the relative contribution of personality to self-reported eating attitudes found that N was the largest contributor to eating disorders. In Poddar et al s study 1999 the eating disordered displayed a lower body mass index BMI along with higher scores in N and lower scores in O, C, and E. From this elevated N results in an increase in negative emotional experience sadness and fatigue. Poddar et al 1999 which is most likely due to higher anxiety, hostility, depression, vulnerability, and self-consciousness. As we know stress can lead to changes in one's appetite whilst sleep can interfere with appetite regulation. Because Poddar et al 1999 also found strong positive correlations between normal or excess weight and C and O it can be said that higher levels in O C and N affect individuals' weights and more particularly that N seems to play a part in eating disorders. According to Gade Rosenvinge Hjelmesæth Friborg 2014, dysfunctional eating behaviors are linked with N and C. Specifically N is tied with emotional eating EmE one's eating in response to negative feelings whereas C is related to restrained eating RE a conscious effort to restrict food intake and calories Gade et al 2014. In addition, the primary trait of impulsiveness N was found to be the most notable in predicting both EmE and external eating ExE eating caused by external cues. Gade et al 2014 Therefore N appears to be associated with eating behaviors that induce both weight gain or loss whereas C seems to favor weight loss most.

The influence of both C and N on body weight was confirmed in another study by Elfhag Morey 2007. According to their study, both EmE and ExE were associated with increased levels of N with the former tied with lower C and E too whereas RE was linked with higher O C and E but lower N overall. Further in controlling for gender Elfhag Morey 2007 determined that EmE and ExE individuals were characterized by their impulsiveness N in both genders along with depression N for the former, whereas RE ones displayed decreased anxiety and vulnerability as well as increased achievement striving. From this, it can be deduced that the majority of obese people which suffer from dysfunctional eating in the form of EmE or ExE are more impulsive in their eating for comfort or from lack of control, whereas people seeking to lose weight would focus on restraint by decreasing their food intake Elfhag Morey 2007. Consequently, it would seem that N influences weight gain and C prompts weight loss. Higher scores in C appear to predispose individuals to maintain a normal or below average weight. Skinner Bruce T Davis W Davis 2013 found that individuals displaying elevated C scores are less likely to be obese In their study. Friedman Tucker, Tomlinson Keasy, Martin Wingard Criqui found C to be predictive of a lower BMI as cited in Skinner et al 2013. These findings were replicated by Hampson Goldberg Vogt Dubanoski 2007 where C's effects were determined to be both direct and indirect via a combination of health behaviors and other processes. Therefore C appears to be a factor promoting a healthy weight. Accordingly, Chapman Fiscella Duberstein Coletta Kawachi 2009 found a higher C to be associated with lower obesity prevalence and BMI in both genders.

As such it appears that C does in fact promote healthy behaviors in individuals or at least protect them from the dysfunctional eating behaviors that cause weight gain. Indeed Chapman et al 2009 found that in men greater obesity prevalence was linked with higher A and N further suggesting that N is a predisposing factor for weight gain. McCann 2011 in his study of American state differences in obesity prevalence regarding personality traits found lower O higher A and higher N to be tied with higher state obesity prevalence.

 In accordance with previous findings lower, O may lead to a lower motivation to be fit and healthy higher A to increased reactivity to social threats or stressors and higher N to increasingly negative effect and obesity-promoting habits Chapman et al 2009. Yet can it be said that because higher C is generally associated with normal or lower BMIs and higher N with higher ones C necessarily stimulates weight loss and N weight gain. The influence of any given personality trait on one's weight relies not only on one's body type but also on one's coping mechanisms. Swami Taylor Carvalho 2011 in their study found Emotional Stability ES the opposite of N to be negatively associated with body dissatisfaction. Similarly, Swami Tran Brooks, Kanaan Luesse, Nader Pietschnig, Stieger Voracek 2013 found a positive correlation between N and actual-ideal weight discrepancy and a negative one between N and body appreciation. Further increased body appreciation was tied with increased C E and A levels and a decreased N level Swami et al 2013.

If N is not certainly associated with weight gain it is assuredly linked with body dissatisfaction which combined with the effects of poorer emotional health seems to encourage the pursuit of weight modifying behaviors. Whether the aforementioned behaviors are healthy or not depends on other factors. Indeed Di Lodovico Dubertret Ameller 2017 discovered that certain behaviors such as exercising displayed more than the mere desire to burn calories as they may also be a way to deal with negativity. Therefore it appears that in individuals that are more neurotic than the average ones losing or gaining weight might increasingly depend on one's coping methods. For whether one engages in emotional eating due to negative affect or in exercise to block out depressive thoughts does not lead to the same physical outcome. Similarly, the healthiness of a given dysfunctional eating behavior relies on one's body size dieting benefits the obese but not the anorexic. And although it seems quite clear that in general C promotes weight loss in individuals of all shapes and sizes it is still unclear whether N has a clear and definite role in our weight patterns or not. Nevertheless out of the BFI s super traits C and N seem to matter the most in predicting the evolution of our weight.

Discussion. Throughout the reviewed literature several possible discrepancies were brought forward along with their probable causes. Limitations of These Studies. The discrepancies identified may result from a number of limitations resulting from demographic factors or imperfect measures of assessment. Demographic limitations. First, most of the studies examined small sample sizes composed of students. Therefore these studies were limited in terms of generalization as some of the findings were not applicable to the greater population. Because it is still unknown if and when personality traits become immutable, investigating adolescents or young adults may not be the best method considering they may still evolve and change. Assessment limitations. Second measures of positive and negative body image and of personality have been found to have poor validity and reliability. Of all the methods used in these various studies, some had acceptable internal consistency only. In addition, not all studies controlled for gender or SES effects in their findings. Conclusions and Future Study. To gain a complete understanding of the BFI's, C's and N's effects on weight loss it is essential to conduct a study that examines all aspects of personality and of the process of losing weight.

This includes but is not limited to the impact of personality on long term weight loss the immutability of personality traits in response to crises stressors social environments etc and the underlying psychological constructs of eating behaviors in terms of personality traits. The effects on weight may differ greatly N can yield opposite effects yet we remain unaware of the latent processes inherent to such diverging outcomes. With the ever-increasing importance of health behaviors we must better our understanding of behaviors as vital as eating along with that of the connected constructs of personality and weight evolution.

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