Smoking, personality and the gender gap

Shulamith Kreitler, Hans Kreitler, Kineret Weissler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study is based on Eysenck's thesis about the synergistic effects of smoking and personality on health. The purpose was to apply it to explain gender differences in the incidence of smoking-related disease and mortality. Our hypothesis was that women were less susceptible to the noxious effects of smoking because of their specific personality dispositions. There were 96 healthy adult subjects (37 men, 59 women) including 48 smokers and 48 nonsmokers. The following questionnaires were administered in the framework of a routine health check-up: the neuroticism scale, stress reaction scale, the Strelau Temperament Inventory, the Life Events Survey, the Personal Problems Questionnaire, the Profile of Mood States, the Positive Emotions Check List and the Cognitive Orientation of Health questionnaire. Information about white blood cell count and erythrocyte sedimentation rate was available. Two-way analyses of variance showed effects due to gender or to smoking but mainly interactive effects indicating that women had health-promoting and disease-suppressing characteristics, notably: low scores on inhibition, low number of life events, low number of negative life events and high number of positive life events, low number of problems especially in work, family and interpersonal relations, low scores on depression, anger and anxiety, and high scores on satisfaction. It is suggested that these characteristics contribute to the lower susceptibility of women to smoking-dependent diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-768
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1993


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