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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2017 Oct 1;72(6):922-931. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbw006.

Trajectories of Personality Traits Preceding Dementia Diagnosis.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
2
Anne Ingeborg Berg and Boo Johansson, Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Abstract

Background:

Several retrospective studies using informant report have shown that individuals with dementia demonstrate considerable personality change. Two prospective studies, also using informant report, have shown that individuals who develop dementia show some personality changes prior to diagnosis. The current study is the first to assess personality trait change prior to dementia diagnosis using self-report measures from longitudinal data.

Method:

This study used data from the Swedish OCTO-Twin Study, a longitudinal panel of 702 twins aged 80 and older. Analysis was restricted to 86 individuals who completed the Eysenck Personality Inventory and received a dementia diagnosis during follow-up occasions. Latent growth curve analyses were used to examine trajectories of extraversion and neuroticism preceding dementia diagnosis.

Results:

Controlling for sex, age, education, depressive symptoms, and the interaction between age and education, growth curve analyses revealed a linear increase in neuroticism and stability in extraversion. Individuals who were eventually diagnosed with dementia showed a significant increase in neuroticism preceding diagnosis of dementia.

Discussion:

Personality change, specifically an increase in neuroticism, may be an early indicator of dementia. Identification of early indicators of dementia may facilitate development of screening assessments and aid in early care strategies and planning.

KEYWORDS:

Dementia; Extraversion; Longitudinal; Neuroticism; Older adults; Personality change

PMID:
26945005
PMCID:
PMC5927080
DOI:
10.1093/geronb/gbw006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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