Personality and Risk Taking in Sports: A Focus on Unintentional and Intentional Head Impacts in Amateur Soccer Players

Cara F. Levitch, Chloe Ifrah, Mimi Kim, Walter F. Stewart, Richard B. Lipton, Molly E. Zimmerman, Michael L. Lipton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective:In soccer, unintentional and intentional (heading) head impacts are associated with concussive symptoms and cognitive dysfunction. We examined whether personality traits were associated with these behaviors in soccer players.Design:Cross-sectional study.Setting and Participants:Participants completed study visits at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. A total of 307 adult amateur soccer players, recruited from New York City and the surrounding area, completed 737 HeadCount-2w questionnaires.Predictor Variables:Personality traits (intellect/imagination, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) were assessed with the Mini-International Personality Item Pool questionnaire at the baseline study visit.Main Outcome Measures:Participants completed an online questionnaire (HeadCount-2w) to ascertain frequency of intentional head impacts and occurrence of unintentional head impacts every 3 to 6 months. Generalized estimating equations repeated-measures regressions determined whether personality predicted unintentional and intentional impacts.Results:Personality traits were not associated with unintentional head impact(s) or frequency of intentional head impacts.Conclusions:These findings have important clinical implications, suggesting that personality is not driving the association between high levels of unintentional and intentional head impacts and worse neuropsychological functioning and concussive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-488
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Journal of Sport Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • concussion
  • extraversion
  • heading
  • personality
  • risk
  • soccer
  • sports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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