The K-factor, Covitality, and personality

Aurelio José Figueredo, Geneva Vásquez, Barbara Hagenah Brumbach, Stephanie M.R. Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

197 Scopus citations


We present a psychometric test of life history theory as applied to human individual differences using MIDUS survey data (Brim et al. 2000). Twenty scales measuring cognitive and behavioral dimensions theoretically related to life history strategy were constructed using items from the MIDUS survey. These scales were used to construct a single common factor, the K-factor, which accounted for 70% of the reliable variance. The scales used included measures of personal, familial, and social function. A second common factor, Covitality, was constructed from scales for physical and mental health. Finally, a single general factor, Personality, was constructed from scales for the "Big Five" factors of personality. The K-factor, covitality factor, and general personality factor correlated significantly with each other, supporting the prediction that high K predicts high somatic effort and also manifests in behavioral display. Thus, a single higher-order common factor, the Super-K factor, was constructed that consisted of the K-factor, covitality factor, and personality factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-73
Number of pages27
JournalHuman Nature
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007


  • General health
  • Life history theory
  • Personality factors
  • Social privilege theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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