Psychosocial correlates of body fat distribution in black and white young adults

S. A. Kaye, A. R. Folsom, D. R. Jacobs, G. H. Hughes, J. M. Flack

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42 Scopus citations


We examined the association of fat distribution with a number of personality attributes and behaviours in a sample of 5115 young blacks and whites. Body fat distribution, measured by the ratio of waist-to-hip circumferences (WHR), was significantly and positively associated with cigarette smoking and negatively associated with education in all of the race and sex groups. WHR was positively associated with alcohol consumption in men and black women and with marijuana use in women. A number of psychosocial factors assessing personality attributes and behaviours were also examined, including the Cook-Medley hostility score, type A/B behaviour pattern, life events, social support, financial situation, and diagnosis of a nervous, emotional or mental disorder. In age- and BMI-adjusted analyses, only the Cook-Medley hostility score and a financial situation score were significantly and positively associated with WHR in all race and sex groups. In multivariate linear regression, these psychosocial factors were associated with WHR in some of the race and sex groups, accounting for less than 1% of the variation in WHR in any one group. These results suggest that fat distribution is weakly associated with these personality attributes and behaviours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-277
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


  • Body fat distribution
  • Lifestyle
  • Psychosocial correlates
  • Young adulthood


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