Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Motor Function in Community-Dwelling Older Persons

Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL
The American journal of geriatric psychiatry: official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 4.24). 02/2013; 21(2):145-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2012.10.015
Source: PubMed


Personality traits are associated with adverse health outcomes in old age, but their association with motor function is unclear. We tested the hypothesis that neuroticism and extraversion are associated with motor decline in older persons.
Prospective, observational cohort study.
Retirement communities across metropolitan Chicago.
Nine hundred eighty-three older persons without dementia.
At baseline, neuroticism and extraversion were assessed and annual assessment of 18 motor measures were summarized in a composite measure.
Average follow-up was 5 years. Separate linear mixed-effects models controlling for age, sex, and education showed that baseline levels of neuroticism and extraversion were associated with the rate of motor decline. For each 7-point (∼1 SD) higher neuroticism score at baseline, the average annual rate of motor decline was more than 20% faster. This amount of motor decline was associated with a 10% increased risk of death compared to a participant with an average neuroticism score. Each 6-point (∼1 SD) lower extraversion score at baseline was associated with an 8% faster rate of motor decline. This amount of motor decline was associated with about a 9% increased risk of death compared to a participant with an average extraversion score. Neuroticism and extraversion were relatively independently associated with motor decline. These associations were unchanged when controlling for depressive symptoms and current health status but were partially attenuated when controlling for late-life cognitive and social activities.
Higher levels of neuroticism and lower levels of extraversion are associated with more rapid motor decline in old age.

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