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Personality and Survival in Older Age: The Role of Lifestyle Behaviors and Health Status
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI). Stockholm Gerontology Research Center, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI).
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Number of Authors: 52017 (English)In: The American journal of geriatric psychiatry, ISSN 1064-7481, E-ISSN 1545-7214, Vol. 25, no 12, p. 1363-1372Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: We intended to assess the relationship between personality and survival in an older population and to explore the role of lifestyle behaviors and health status as potential mediators. Design: Population-based cohort study. Setting: Swedish National Study of Aging and Care in Kungsholmen, Sweden. Participants: 2,298 adults aged 60 or more years, without dementia or depression, followed for 11 years. Measurements: Personality (extraversion, neuroticism, and openness) was assessed with a shortened version of the NEO-Five Factor Inventory. We tested whether personality affected mortality and examined the potential mediating effect of health status (body mass index, number of chronic diseases, impairment in instrumental activities of daily living, and C-reactive protein) and lifestyle behaviors (leisure activities, social network, smoking, and alcohol consumption). Results: Over 11 years of follow-up, higher levels of extraversion were associated with a 14% reduction in mortality. Examination of different combinations of personality traits showed that independent of levels of neuroticism and openness, high extraversion were associated with up to 65% lower mortality. Decomposing the effect of extraversion on mortality, we found that the majority (44%) of the beneficial effect was mediated by healthy lifestyle behaviors. Health status accounted for 5% of the association. Conclusions: Extroverted people, who are characterized by higher optimism and high self-efficacy, are prone to healthier behaviors and better health, which may result in longer survival. These results highlight the importance of a healthy lifestyle in survival.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 25, no 12, p. 1363-1372
Keywords [en]
Neuroticism, extraversion, openness, survival, elderly people, population-based study
National Category
Geriatrics Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-150065DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2017.06.008ISI: 000415130200012PubMedID: 28711464OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-150065DiVA, id: diva2:1164995
Available from: 2017-12-12 Created: 2017-12-12 Last updated: 2018-01-04Bibliographically approved

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