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Diabetic Medicine
Year: 2014  |  Volume: 31  |  Issue: 4  |  Page No.: 487 - 492

Personality traits, self-care behaviours and glycaemic control in Type 2 diabetes: The Fremantle Diabetes Study Phase II

T. C. Skinner, D. G. Bruce, T. M. E. Davis and W. A. Davis    

Abstract:

Aims

To determine whether the personality traits of conscientiousness and agreeableness are associated with self-care behaviours and glycaemia in Type 2 diabetes.

Methods

The Big Five Inventory personality traits Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Neuroticism and Openness were determined along with a range of other variables in 1313 participants with Type 2 diabetes (mean age 65.8 ± 11.1 years; 52.9% men) undertaking their baseline assessment as part of the community-based longitudinal observational Fremantle Diabetes Study Phase II. Age- and sex-adjusted generalized linear modelling was used to determine whether personality was associated with BMI, smoking, self-monitoring of blood glucose and medication taking. Multivariable regression was used to investigate which traits were independently associated with these self-care behaviours and HbA1c.

Results

Patients with higher conscientiousness were less likely to be obese or smoke, and more likely to perform self-monitoring of blood glucose and take their medications (P ≤ 0.019), with similar independent associations in multivariate models (P ≤ 0.024). HbA1c was independently associated with younger age, indigenous ethnicity, higher BMI, longer diabetes duration, diabetes treatment, self-monitoring of blood glucose (negatively) and less medication taking (P ≤ 0.009), but no personality trait added to the model.

Conclusions

Although there was no independent association between personality traits and HbA1c, the relationship between high conscientiousness and low BMI and beneficial self-care behaviours suggests an indirect positive effect on glycaemia. Conscientiousness could be augmented by the use of impulse control training as part of diabetes management.

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