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Aging (Albany NY). 2013 Mar;5(3):183-91.

Personality, self-rated health, and cognition in centenarians: do personality and self-rated health relate to cognitive function in advanced age?

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  • 1Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Bronx, NY 10461, USA. kaorikatoboe@hotmail.com


Personality and self-rated health have been linked previously to cognitive outcome in late life. However, these associations have not been shown among the oldest old. This study examined relationships between personality, self-rated health, and cognitive function in a selected sample of Ashkenazi Jewish centenarians (n=68, 59% female) aged 95 to 106 who lived independently in the community. Personality was measured using the Personality Outlook Profile Scale (POPS), a brief measure that was validated in this population. Self-rated health was assessed by participants' subjective rating of their present health, and Mini-Mental Status Examination was used to determine cognitive function. Results showed positive associations of the Positive Attitude Towards Life domain of the POPS and self-rated health with participants' current cognitive function. These associations remained significant even after adjusting for the effects of participants'age, gender, marital status, education, and history of medical illnesses. Further exploratory analysis using structural equations modeling showed significant associations among the three variables, but demonstrated a borderline significant level of mediating effect of personality on the relationship between self-rated health and cognition. These results reemphasized the independent roles of personality and self-rated health on centenarians' cognitive outcomes. Future studies will further elucidate the impact of personality and self-rated health on cognitive outcomes in the oldest old.

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