Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Motor Function in Community-Dwelling Older Persons
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.
Available from: David Bennett
- "Psychosocial factors can affect late-life motor impairment [16,17]. Therefore we examined whether depressive symptoms, loneliness or the personality trait of neuroticism might affect the association of harm avoidance and increasing parkinsonism. "
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ABSTRACT: We tested the hypothesis that harm avoidance, a trait associated with behavioral inhibition, is associated with the rate of change in parkinsonism in older adults.
At baseline harm avoidance was assessed with a standard self-report instrument in 969 older people without dementia participating in the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a longitudinal community-based cohort study. Parkinsonism was assessed annually with a modified version of the motor section of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (mUPDRS).
Average follow-up was 5 years. A linear mixed-effects model controlling for age, sex and education showed that for an average participant (female, 80 years old at baseline, with 14 years of education and a harm avoidance score of 10), the overall severity of parkinsonism increased by about 0.05 unit/ year (Estimate, 0.054, S.E., 0.007, p <0.001) and that the level of harm avoidance was associated with the progression of parkinsonism (Estimate, 0.004, S.E., 0.001, p <0.001). Thus, for an average participant, every 6 point (~1 SD) increase in harm avoidance score at baseline, the rate of progression of parkinsonism increased about 50% compared to an individual with an average harm avoidance score. This amount of change in parkinsonism over the course of the study was associated with about a 5% increased risk of death. The association between harm avoidance and progression of parkinsonism persisted when controlling for cognitive function, depressive symptoms, loneliness, neuroticism, late-life cognitive, social and physical activities and chronic health conditions.
A higher level of the harm avoidance trait is associated with a more rapid progression of parkinsonism in older adults.
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ABSTRACT: The Memory and Aging Project is a longitudinal, epidemiologic clinical-pathologic cohort study of common chronic conditions of aging with an emphasis on decline in cognitive and motor function and risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). In this manuscript, we first summarize the study design and methods. Then, we present data on: (1) the relation of motor function to cognition, disability, and death; (2) the relation of risk factors to cognitive and motor outcomes, disability and death; (3) the relation of neuropathologic indices to cognitive outcomes; (4) the relation of risk factors to neuropathologic indices; and (5) additional study findings. The findings are discussed and contextualized.
Available from: Eleanor M Simonsick
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ABSTRACT: Personality traits and cardiorespiratory fitness in older adults are reliable predictors of health and longevity. We examined the association between personality traits and energy expenditure at rest (basal metabolic rate) and during normal and maximal sustained walking. Personality traits and oxygen (VO(2)) consumption were assessed in 642 participants from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Results indicate that personality traits were mostly unrelated to resting metabolic rate and energy expenditure at normal walking pace. However, those who scored lower on neuroticism (r = -0.12) and higher on extraversion (r = 0.11), openness (r = 0.13), and conscientiousness (r = 0.09) had significantly higher energy expenditure at peak walking pace. In addition to greater aerobic capacity, individuals with a more resilient personality profile walked faster and were more efficient in that they required less energy per meter walked. The associations between personality and energy expenditure were not moderated by age or sex, but were in part explained by the proportion of fat mass. In conclusion, differences in personality may matter the most during more challenging activities that require cardiorespiratory fitness. These findings suggest potential pathways that link personality to health outcomes, such as obesity and longevity.
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