Personality Traits and Well-being Linked to Dementia Risk – Study

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Personality Traits and Well-being Linked to Dementia Risk – Study

Personality Traits and Well-being Linked to Dementia Risk - A recent study published in Alzheimer's & Dementia examined the connection between per

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Personality Traits and Well-being Linked to Dementia Risk – A recent study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia examined the connection between personality traits, well-being, and dementia. The researchers used data from multiple studies to create models that tested whether the Big Five personality traits and subjective well-being (SWB) could predict dementia diagnoses and brain changes seen at autopsy. They also looked at whether certain factors, such as age, education, and initial cognitive health, affected these relationships.

The study found that people with higher levels of neuroticism and negative affect were more likely to be diagnosed with dementia, while those with higher levels of conscientiousness, extraversion, and positive affect were less likely to be diagnosed. However, there was no clear connection between personality traits or SWB and brain changes seen at autopsy.

The researchers suggest that assessing personality traits and SWB could be a quick and easy way to identify people who are at higher risk of developing dementia. This could help doctors to provide early intervention and support to these individuals.

The Big Five (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness) and subjective well-being (SWB) are well-established psychological concepts that influence an individual’s personality and overall happiness.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia, but various mixed pathologies, such as vascular, frontotemporal, and Lewy body dementia, also contribute to dementia cases.

A comprehensive literature review revealed that while researchers have explored the connections between well-being and dementia, there’s a scarcity of meta-analytic studies investigating the relationships between well-being, personality traits, neuropathology, and dementia.

RELATED: Dementia diet: 3 foods to remove from your diet to help halt dementia risks

About the study 

A large-scale study found that certain personality traits and well-being factors are associated with an increased risk of dementia. The study, which involved over 44,000 participants, examined the relationships between the Big Five personality traits (neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness), subjective well-being (SWB), and dementia.

The results showed that people who scored higher on neuroticism and negative affect were more likely to develop dementia, while those who scored higher on extraversion, conscientiousness, and positive affect were less likely to develop dementia. These findings were consistent across different studies, despite variations in how dementia was measured and how long participants were followed.

The study also found that assessing personality traits and SWB is relatively quick and inexpensive, compared to more traditional methods of assessing dementia risk, such as neuropsychological tests and brain scans. This suggests that personality assessments could be a useful tool for identifying people at high risk of dementia and providing them with early intervention.

Key Findings:

  • Neuroticism and negative affect are associated with an increased risk of dementia.
  • Extraversion, conscientiousness, and positive affect are associated with a decreased risk of dementia.
  • Personality traits and SWB can be quickly and inexpensively assessed.
  • Personality assessments could be a useful tool for identifying people at high risk of dementia.

Implications:

  • The findings of this study could help to develop new interventions for dementia prevention.
  • Personality assessments could be used to identify people at high risk of dementia who could benefit from early intervention.
  • More research is needed to understand the mechanisms underlying the associations between personality traits, SWB, and dementia.

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