University of Oulu

Karppanen, AK., Miettunen, J., Hurtig, T. et al. Temperament and longitudinal changes in physical activity – the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 Study. BMC Public Health 23, 426 (2023).

Temperament and longitudinal changes in physical activity : the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 Study

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Author: Karppanen, Anna-Kaisa1,2; Miettunen, Jouko1,3; Hurtig, Tuula4,5,6;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Population Health, University of Oulu, PO Box 5000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Oulu Deaconess Institute Foundation sr, Oulu, Finland
3Medical Research Center, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Research Unit of Clinical Neuroscience, Psychiatry, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5PEDEGO Research Unit, Child Psychiatry, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
6Clinic of Child Psychiatry, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
7Arctic Biobank, Infrastructure for Population Studies, Faculty of Medicine, Northern Finland Birth Cohorts, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
8LIKES, JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Jyväskylä, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-08-24


Background: Insufficient physical activity is risk factor for morbidity and premature mortality. This population-based birth cohort study investigated the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between self-reported temperament at age 31 and self-reported leisure-time moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) levels and changes thereof from the age of 31 to the age of 46 years.

Methods: The study population comprised 3,084 subjects (1,359 male and 1,725 female) from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966. MVPA was self-reported at ages 31 and 46 years. Novelty seeking, harm avoidance, reward dependence, and persistence and their subscales were measured using Cloninger’s Temperament and Character Inventory at age 31. Four temperament clusters were used in the analyses: persistent, overactive, dependent, and passive. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the relationship between temperament and MVPA.

Results: The persistent and overactive temperament profiles at age 31 were positively associated with higher MVPA levels both in young adulthood and in midlife, while the passive and dependent temperament profiles were associated with lower MVPA levels. The overactive temperament profile was associated with a decrease in MVPA levels from young adulthood to midlife among males.

Conclusion: A passive temperament profile characterized by high harm avoidance is associated with a higher risk of low MVPA level than other temperament profiles over the life cycle in females. The results suggest that temperament may play a role in determining the level and sustainability of MVPA. Individual targeting and intervention tailoring for promoting physical activity should consider temperament traits.

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Series: BMC public health
ISSN: 1471-2458
ISSN-E: 1471-2458
ISSN-L: 1471-2458
Volume: 23
Issue: 1
Article number: 426
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-023-15303-9
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 315 Sport and fitness sciences
3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: The NFBC1966 received financial support from the University of Oulu (grant nos. 65354, 24000692), Oulu University Hospital (grant nos. 2/97, 8/97, 24301140), the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs (grant nos. 23/251/97, 160/97, 190/97), the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki (grant no. 54121), the Regional Institute of Occupational Health, Oulu, Finland (grant nos. 50621, 54231), and the European Regional Development Fund (grant no. 539/2010, A31592). This study was financially supported in part by the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland (grant nos. OKM/86/626/2014, OKM43/626/2015, OKM17/262/2016, OKM47/626/2017, OKM/54/626/2019, OKM/85/626/2019, OKM/1096/626/2020). Anna-Kaisa Karppanen was supported by the Gyllenberg Foundation (5071). Jouko Miettunen was supported by the Juho Vainio Foundation and the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation (20207302). Raija Korpelainen was supported by the Juho Vainio Foundation. The sponsors of this study had no role in data collection, analysis, and interpretation or in the writing of the manuscript. Open Access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital.
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