Research Research and Professional Briefs| Volume 112, ISSUE 6, P887-891, June 2012

Adherence to the Mediterranean Dietary Pattern and Personality in Patients Attending a Primary Health Center


      Personality influences lifestyle behaviors, and particularly dietary behavior. The possible association of personality with adherence to the Mediterranean diet pattern (MDP) has not been reported. The objective of this study was to analyze the possible association of personality traits with adherence to the MDP, controlling for sociodemographic variables, presence of chronic illnesses, minor psychiatric morbidity, body mass index (BMI), daily smoking, and physical activity. This cross-sectional study included 206 patients, age 18 to 65 years, recruited at a primary health service in Granada, Spain, during 2007 to 2008. The participants answered a questionnaire, including sociodemographic characteristics, data on personality, and MDP. Personality was measured by the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI-125). Adherence to MDP was measured using the validated 14-point Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS). MEDAS score was directly associated with the character dimension of self-directedness, age, and minor psychiatric morbidity score; and inversely with marital status (widowed, separated, or divorced) and BMI. Because highly self-directed individuals may respond better to diet advice, consideration of personality may prove helpful in the design of interventions to enhance the adherence to MDP. To improve the adherence to MDP in interventions with patients with low self-directedness, more intensive professional support and counseling with tailored messages about the health benefits of MDP may be indicated.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Sofi F.
        • Abbate R.
        • Gensini G.F.
        • Casini A.
        Accruing evidence about benefits of adherence to the Mediterranean diet on health: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2010; 92: 1189-1196
        • Beunza J.J.
        • Toledo E.
        • Hu F.B.
        • et al.
        Adherence to the Mediterranean diet, long-term weight change, and incident overweight or obesity: The Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) cohort.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2010; 92: 1484-1493
        • Sánchez-Villegas A.
        • Delgado-Rodríguez M.
        • Alonso A.
        • et al.
        Association of the Mediterranean dietary pattern with the incidence of depression: The Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra/University of Navarra follow-up (SUN) cohort.
        Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009; 66: 1090-1098
        • Sánchez-Villegas A.
        • Delgado-Rodríguez M.
        • Martínez-González M.A.
        • et al.
        Gender, age, socio-demographic and lifestyle factors associated with major dietary patterns in the Spanish Project SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra).
        Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003; 57: 285-292
        • Katsarou A.
        • Tyrovolas S.
        • Psaltopoulou T.
        • et al.
        Socio-economic status, place of residence and dietary habits among the elderly: The Mediterranean islands study.
        Public Health Nutr. 2010; 13: 1614-1621
        • Panagiotakos D.B.
        • Pitsavos C.
        • Chrysohoou C.
        • et al.
        Dietary habits mediate the relationship between socio-economic status and CVD factors among healthy adults: The ATTICA study.
        Public Health Nutr. 2008; 11: 1342-1349
        • Gurpegui M.
        • Jurado D.
        • Luna J.D.
        • Fernández-Molina C.
        • Moreno-Abril O.
        • Gálvez R.
        Personality traits associated with caffeine intake and smoking.
        Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2007; 31: 997-1005
        • Lange L.A.
        • Kampov-Polevoy A.B.
        • Garbutt J.C.
        Sweet liking and high novelty seeking: Independent phenotypes associated with alcohol-related problems.
        Alcohol Alcohol. 2010; 45: 431-436
        • Le Bon O.
        • Basiaux P.
        • Streel E.
        • et al.
        Personality profile and drug of choice; a multivariate analysis using Cloninger's TCI on heroin addicts, alcoholics, and a random population group.
        Drug Alcohol Depend. 2004; 73: 175-182
        • Rhodes R.E.
        • Smith N.E.
        Personality correlates of physical activity: A review and meta-analysis.
        Br J Sports Med. 2006; 40: 958-965
        • van den Bree M.B.
        • Przybeck T.R.
        • Cloninger C.R.
        Diet and personality: Associations in a population-based sample.
        Appetite. 2006; 46: 177-188
        • de Bruijn G.J.
        • Kremers S.P.
        • van Mechelen W.
        • Brug J.
        Is personality related to fruit and vegetable intake and physical activity in adolescents?.
        Health Educ Res. 2005; 20: 635-644
        • Yannakoulia M.
        • Panagiotakos D.B.
        • Pitsavos C.
        • et al.
        Eating habits in relations to anxiety symptoms among apparently healthy adults.
        Appetite. 2008; 51: 519-525
        • Gurpegui M.
        • Jurado D.
        • Fernández-Molina M.C.
        • Moreno-Abril O.
        • Luna J.D.
        • Alarcón R.D.
        Personality profiles and minor affective psychopathology in a non-clinical sample: An empirical verification of Cloninger's theoretical model.
        J Affect Disord. 2009; 119: 34-42
        • Cloninger C.R.
        • Przybeck T.R.
        • Svrakic D.M.
        • Wetzel R.M.
        The Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI): A Guide to Its Development and Use. Washington University, Center for Psychobiology of Personality, St Louis, MO1994
        • Gutierrez-Zotes J.A.
        • Bayon C.
        • Montserrat C.
        • et al.
        Temperament and Character Inventory Revised (TCI-R).
        Actas Esp Psiquiatr. 2004; 32: 8-15
        • Schröder H.
        • Fitó M.
        • Estruch R.
        • et al.
        A short screener is valid for assessing Mediterranean diet adherence among older Spanish men and women.
        J Nutr. 2011; 141: 1140-1145
        • Zazpe I.
        • Sanchez-Tainta A.
        • Estruch R.
        • et al.
        A large randomized individual and group intervention conducted by registered dietitians increased adherence to Mediterranean-type diets: The PREDIMED study.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2008; 108: 1134-1144
        • Martínez-González M.A.
        • Corella D.
        • Salas-Salvadó J.
        • et al.
        Cohort profile: Design and methods of the PREDIMED study.
        Int J Epidemiol. 2010; : 1-9
        • Lobo A.
        • Pérez-Echeverría M.J.
        • Artal J.
        Validity of the scaled version of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ 28) in a Spanish population.
        Psychol Med. 1986; 16: 135-140
        • Anderson E.S.
        • Winett R.A.
        • Wojcik J.R.
        • Williams D.M.
        Social cognitive mediators of change in a group randomized nutrition and physical activity intervention: Social support, self-efficacy, outcome expectations and self-regulation in the guide-to-health trial.
        J Health Psychol. 2010; 15: 21-32
        • Cloninger C.R.
        • Svrakic D.M.
        • Przybeck T.R.
        Can personality assessment predict future depression?.
        J Affect Disord. 2006; 92: 35-44
        • Jurado D.
        • Gurpegui M.
        • Moreno O.
        • Fernández M.C.
        • Luna J.D.
        • Gálvez R.
        Association of personality and work conditions with depressive symptoms.
        Eur Psychiatry. 2005; 20: 213-222
        • Mörtberg E.
        • Bejerot S.
        • Aberg Wistedt A.
        Temperament and character dimensions in patients with social phobia: Patterns of change following treatments?.
        Psychiatry Res. 2007; 152: 81-90
        • Alonso P.
        • Menchón J.M.
        • Jiménez S.
        • et al.
        Personality dimensions in obsessive-compulsive disorder: Relation to clinical variables.
        Psychiatry Res. 2008; 157: 159-168
        • Moreno-Abril O.
        • Luna del Castillo J de D.
        • Fernández-Molina C.
        • et al.
        Psychiatric morbidity in Spanish schoolteachers.
        Occup Med (Lond). 2007; 57: 194-202
        • Romaguera D.
        • Norat T.
        • Vergnaud A.C.
        • et al.
        Mediterranean dietary patterns and prospective weight change in participants of the EPIC-PANACEA project.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2010; 92: 912-921


      D. Jurado is research scientist, CTS-549 Research Group, Institute of Neurosciences, Center for Biomedical Research; D. Jurado is also an associate professor, Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.


      J. M. Martínez-Ortega is research scientist, CTS-549 Research Group, Institute of Neurosciences, Center for Biomedical Research; J. M. Martínez-Ortega is an assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.


      M. Gurpegui is director, CTS-549 Research Group, Institute of Neurosciences, Center for Biomedical Research; M. Gurpegui is a professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.


      E. Burgos-Garrido is a family physician, La Chana University Health Care Center, Andalusian Health Service, Granada, Spain.


      F. J. Diaz is an associate professor, Department of Biostatistics, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City.