J Nutr Health.  2020 Feb;53(1):13-26. 10.4163/jnh.2020.53.1.13.

Food habits, health behaviors related to the personality in Korean college students

  • 1Graduate School of Education, Gachon University, Seongnam 13120, Korea. shkye@gachon.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon 16499, Korea.


This study identified the relationship between dietary habits and health-related behaviors depending on the Big Five personality factors (extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism).
The NEO-II test was administered to 337 male and female college students in Seongnam City, Gyeonggi Province, and their dietary habits and health-related behaviors were surveyed.
The male participants showed higher scores for extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness compared to that of their female counterparts, while the female participants showed higher scores for neuroticism. As for the results of multivariate logistic regression analysis, in the case of men, higher scores for extraversion were related to a lower intake of instant/fast foods and a higher intake of vegetables; higher agreeableness scores were related to a lower intake of fruit; and higher neuroticism scores were related to a heavy intake of high-cholesterol foods. It was found that higher openness scores were associated with a higher intake of burnt fish/meat and a lower intake of animal fat, while higher agreeableness scores were related to a lower intake of burnt fish/meat in women. Also, those subjects with higher openness and agreeableness scores were found to better consider the nutritional balance when having a meal. In the case of the male participants, higher openness scores were related to increased physical activity, while higher neuroticism scores were related to increased smoking and a lack of sleep. As for the women, those with higher extraversion scores smoked more, while those who recorded higher agreeableness scores were involved in more physical activities.
Differences were observed in dietary habits and health-related behaviors between men and women depending on personality factors, and the analysis results of some dietary habits according to personality factors were inconsistent with those of the overseas studies. Therefore, to provide customized nutritional counseling when considering each individual's personality factors, more research results from domestic samples should be collected and accumulated.


NEO-II test; personality; college students; food habits; health behaviors

MeSH Terms

Extraversion (Psychology)
Food Habits*
Health Behavior*
Logistic Models
Motor Activity



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