Impulsivity-related traits are associated with higher white blood cell counts

A.R. Sutin, Y. Milaneschi, A. Cannas, L. Ferrucci, M. Uda, D. Schlessinger, A.B. Zonderman, A. Terracciano

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    A chronically elevated white blood cell (WBC) count is a risk factor for morbidity and mortality. The present research tests whether facets of impulsivity - impulsiveness, excitement-seeking, self-discipline, and deliberation - are associated with chronically elevated WBC counts. Community-dwelling participants (N = 5,652) from Sardinia, Italy, completed a standard personality questionnaire and provided blood samples concurrently and again 3 years later. Higher scores on impulsivity, in particular impulsiveness and excitementseeking, were related to higher total WBC counts and higher lymphocyte counts at both time points. Impulsiveness was a predictor of chronic inflammation: for every standard deviation difference in this trait, there was an almost 25% higher risk of elevated WBC counts at both time points (OR = 1.23, 95% CI = 1.10-1.38). These associations were mediated, in part, by smoking and body mass index. The findings demonstrate that links between psychological processes and immunity are not limited to acute stressors; stable personality dispositions are associated with a chronic inflammatory state. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (outside the USA) 2011.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)616-623
    JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    Dive into the research topics of 'Impulsivity-related traits are associated with higher white blood cell counts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this