Personality and Physical Functioning Among Older Adults: The Moderating Role of Education

CorrespondenceCorrespondence should be addressed to Yannick Stephan, EA 4556 EPSYLON, Laboratory Dynamic of Human Abilities and Health Behaviors, Department of Sport Sciences, Psychology and Medicine, University of Montpellier and St-Etienne, 4, Boulevard Henry IV, 34000 Montpellier, France. E-mail: .
The Journals of Gerontology Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences (Impact Factor: 3.21). 07/2013; 68(4):553-557. DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbs094
Source: PubMed


Drawing upon a vulnerability model, this study tested whether low educational level would amplify the negative contribution of risky personality traits, such as high neuroticism and low conscientiousness, on older adults physical functioning.

Five hundred and thirteen French-speaking community-dwelling older adults aged 60-91 years (mean age = 66.37, SD = 5.32) completed measures of physical functioning, education, personality traits, chronic conditions, and demographic variables.

Results revealed that extraversion and conscientiousness were positively associated with physical functioning, whereas neuroticism was a negative predictor, beyond demographics, chronic conditions, and education. The negative relationship between neuroticism and physical functioning was stronger among individuals with low educational level and was nonsignificant among older people with higher level of education.

This study is the first to support a vulnerability model, which entails an amplification of neuroticism risk at low education, but a diminishment of neuroticism risk for activity limitations at high education. As a whole, it appears that a focus on either personality or education without taking into account each other provides only a partial account of the predictors of basic daily physical activities in old age.

7 Reads
  • Source
    • "In the past decade, the FFT of personality has gained wide acceptance [19]. A vulnerability model indicated an increase in the risk of N in individuals with low educational level [20]. Higher levels of E and C may be associated with a reduced risk of disability in old age [21]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The experience of pain may vary in accordance with personality traits and individual characteristics. Neuroticism is demonstrated to constitute a vulnerability factor among younger and middle-aged pain patients. The combination of openness and neuroticism is associated with high anxiety/depression scores among adult individuals with chronic conditions. The aim of this study was to investigate possible associations between pain and the personality dimensions of neuroticism, extroversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness among persons aged 60 years and older. An additional aim was to explore whether such associations are equally gender expressed.
    Scandinavian Journal of Pain 04/2015; 7. DOI:10.1016/j.sjpain.2014.12.002
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective: Personality traits have been associated with chronic disease. Less is known about the longitudinal relation between personality and disease and whether chronic disease is associated with changes in personality. Method. Participants from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (N = 2,008) completed the Revised NEO Personality Inventory and a standard medical interview at regularly scheduled visits; the Charlson Comorbidity Index, a weighted sum of 19 serious diseases, was derived from this interview. Using data from 6,685 visits, we tested whether personality increased risk of disease and whether disease was associated with personality change. Results: Measured concurrently, neuroticism and conscientiousness were associated with greater disease burden. The impulsiveness facet of neuroticism was the strongest predictor of developing disease across the follow-up period: For every standard deviation increase in impulsiveness, there was a 26% increased risk of developing disease and a 36% increased risk of getting more ill. Personality traits changed only modestly with disease: As participants developed chronic illnesses, they became more conservative (decreased openness). Discussion. This research indicates that personality traits confer risk for disease, in part, through health-risk behaviors. These traits, however, were relatively resistant to the effect of serious disease.
    The Journals of Gerontology Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 05/2013; 68(6). DOI:10.1093/geronb/gbt036 · 3.21 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pregnancy is a unique period to quit smoking and alcohol consumption and although motivated, not all women succeed at this. We investigated the associations of personality with continued smoking and continued alcohol consumption during early pregnancy. In addition, we studied whether antenatal anxiety and depressive symptoms can explain these associations. Two antenatal measurements from the population-based Pregnancy Anxiety and Depression cohort study were used. Pregnant women in their first trimester were recruited via midwifery practices and hospitals. We analyzed a sample of women who continued (n = 101) or quit smoking (n = 254), and a sample of women who continued (n = 110) or quit alcohol consumption (n = 1230). Measures included questions about smoking, alcohol consumption, the NEO-Five Factor Inventory (personality), the State Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. We found associations between continued alcohol consumption and higher levels of openness to experience, and lower levels of conscientiousness (p < 0.05). The association between conscientiousness and continued alcohol consumption was partly explained by both anxiety and depressive symptoms. No associations between personality and continued smoking emerged. This study contributes to the limited literature on personality differences between women who continue and quit smoking and alcohol consumption during early pregnancy. General population studies have not confirmed the association between openness to experience and alcohol consumption which implies that pregnancy is indeed a unique period. Increased insight in how personality influences continued smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy can help health professionals to improve lifestyle interventions targeted at pregnant women.
    Addictive behaviors 05/2014; 39(5). DOI:10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.01.022 · 2.76 Impact Factor
Show more