Political orientation and physical health: the role of personal responsibility

Eugene Y. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Are conservatives healthier than liberals? Aggregate and macro-level evidence have provided support for this possibility, yet individual-level analyses are missing and underlying processes unclear. We study how a person's political orientation might influence her physical health. We propose that a conservative orientation might promote physical health behaviors by promoting personal responsibility—and being personally-responsible means taking care of one's health. Across three studies, we find evidence for this hypothesis, with mediation evidence supporting our proposed personal responsibility account. We test our propositions on overall health (Study 1), greater physical activity engagement (Study 2), and smoking cessation (Study 3). Thus, we provide the first empirical illustration why conservatives may be healthier, offering implications for medical doctors and public health officials in encouraging healthy lifestyles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-122
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2019


  • Health
  • Personal responsibility
  • Political orientation
  • Smoking cessation
  • Value

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