The impact of personality on memory function in older adults—results from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam

Ruth Klaming*, Dick J. Veltman, Hannie C. Comijs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The aim of the study was to explore associations between memory function and the personality constructs mastery, self-efficacy, and neuroticism in a large cohort of older adults over a 14-year period. Methods: Memory function and personality traits were assessed every three years for 14 years. Data was derived from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). The study cohort included a total of 1966 men and women aged 65 and older at baseline. Episodic memory was assessed with a modified Dutch version of the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test. Personality was measured with Dutch versions of the Pearlin Mastery Scale, General Self-Efficacy Scale, and an abbreviated version of the Dutch Personality Questionnaire. All three personality questionnaires are self-rating instruments. Results: Higher levels of mastery and self-efficacy were associated with better memory function while high neuroticism was associated with poorer memory. Personality traits did not affect the rate of memory decline over time. Conclusions: Results demonstrate the role personality constructs, in particular those related to control beliefs and proneness to psychological stress, play in cognitive function in older adults, and support the development of intervention programs. Targeted training has the potential to promote a sense of control over life outcomes and to lower stress in older adults who are at risk for impaired memory function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-804
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume32
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

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