Within- and between individual variability of personality characteristics and physical exercise

Rene Mõttus, Sacha Epskamp, Adam Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using two independent samples, the study investigated links of within- and between-individual variability in personality states in three personality domains—Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Conscientiousness—with physical activity. Activity was defined as self-reported quantity of exercising or walking/cycling. More physical activity was associated with people reporting higher levels of Extraversion and Conscientiousness than they usually did, with the associations clearly replicating across samples and generalizing to all items of these domains. This pattern tended to reflect associations at the level of between-individual differences. When the three domains simultaneously predicted activity, within-individual variance in Neuroticism also emerged as a positive predictor, whereas between-individual level associations waned. The findings are consistent with within-individual differences in personality ratings reflecting meaningful, context-sensitive variability.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Early online date18 Jun 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2016


  • within-individual variability
  • personality states
  • personality traits
  • exercising
  • physical activity


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