Date of Original Version

8-1999

Type

Article

Abstract or Description

This study examined the role of personality in the reporting of symptoms and illness not supported by underlying pathology. After assessmentof the Big Five personality factors, 276 healthy volunteers were inoculated with a common cold virus. On each of the following 5 days, objective indicators of pathology, self-reported symptoms, and self-reported illness onset were assessed.Neuroticism was directly associ- ated with reports of unfounded (without a physiological basis) symptoms in individuals at baseline and postinoculation in those with and without colds. Neuroticism was also indirectly associated with reports of unfounded illness through reports of more symptoms. Openness to Experience was associated with reporting unfounded symptoms in those with verifiable colds, whereas Conscientiousness was associated with reporting unfounded illness in those who were not ill.

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Published In

Ioumal of Personality and Social Psychology , 77, 2, 370-378.