The Geography of Personality

Katherine King, Duke University and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Negative and positive affect have well-documented likely causal links with several downstream health outcomes. Considerable research also documents residential contextual associations with health, and links between a variety of measures of personality and numerous downstream health outcomes. Yet the contribution of residential sorting on the basis of personality has not been explored, despite the facts that (1) similar people choose to live in similar places and are sorted into similar places by socioeconomic processes, and that (2) aspects of residential context may have causal links with affect and other features of personality. Geographic clustering in health-relevant personality may confound estimates of neighborhood effects on health. Using the Health and Retirement Study, this project first establishes the extent and nature of geographic clustering of personality across personality domains. Negative emotions appear to be particularly geographically-dependent. Analysis then documents variation in personality by region, and according to both built and social environments.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 7