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Trajectories of Personality Traits Preceding Dementia Diagnosis.

Journal article
Authors Tomiko Yoneda
Jonathan Rush
Anne Ingeborg Berg
Boo Johansson
Andrea Piccinin
Published in The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences
Volume 72
Issue 6
Pages 922-931
ISSN 1079-5014
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 922-931
Language en
Keywords Dementia Extraversion Longitudinal Neuroticism Older adults Personality change
Subject categories Applied Psychology, Psychology, Cognitive science


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.

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