Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

James A. Mortimer, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Amy Borenstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John A. Schinka, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Yougui Wu, Ph.D.


Five factor model, Parkinson's, Neo, Sensation seeking, Hierarchical regression


The aim of this study was to examine the association between personality and risk taking in a sample of 461 older adults from the Charlotte County Healthy Aging Study (CCHAS). The personality factors of openness to experience, extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness and conscientiousness were measured with the NEO Five Factor Inventory. Risk-taking was measured with an 8-item questionnaire and a single-item question that assessed subjects' participation in sensation seeking behaviors. Spearman correlation coefficients, hierarchical linear regression and hierarchical logistic regression were used to assess the association. As consistent with past research, high scores on openness to experience (beta = 0.16, P<.0001) and low scores on neuroticism (β = -0.14, P<.01) and agreeableness (β = -0.16, P<.01) were associated with the total score of the 8-item risk taking questionnaire. The single-item risk question was also associated with openness [OR = 1.09; 95% CI: 1.05-1.13], neuroticism [OR = 0.94; 95% CI: 0.90-0.97] and agreeableness [OR = 0.95; 95% CI: 0.92-0.99]. After stratifying by gender, only openness was still significantly associated with risk-taking. Interaction terms including gender and personality factors were added to the models to test if gender was an effect modifier. Although personality differences existed between men and women, none of the interaction terms were statistically significant.