Nail-biting and leg-shaking are two common repetitive behaviors with significant consequences for health and social standing. Despite their prevalence, significance, and known links to various psychological disorders such as Tourette spectrum, no previous research has examined their connection to personality traits. We examined the links between the Big Five personality traits and self-reported tendencies of leg-shaking and nail-biting in a sample of 5328 Japanese adults (2127 females), ranging in age from 18–71 years (mean 49.9). Individuals were assessed with the Ten-Item Personality Inventory and reported on their nail-biting and leg-shaking tendencies using a five-point Likert scale. Correlation and regression analyses revealed significant negative associations between both the tendencies and Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. Males reported engaging in the behaviors more than females and younger individuals more than older. Neuroticism was positively correlated with leg-shaking only in males. Introversion and low Agreeableness correlated with nail-biting in males, while Openness correlated with nail-biting in females. Discussion focuses on social norms that dictate inhibiting both behaviors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas