"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Positive personality traits may protect against dementia: study

December 11, 2023 – New research suggests that an individual's personality and outlook on life may influence the chance of a dementia diagnosis. People at the bottom risk are inclined to be creative, curious and agreeable. People at increased risk are inclined to be anxious and depressed and sometimes experience distressing or negative emotions.

Researchers found no connection between people's personalities and autopsy results that searched for physical signs of dementia within the brain and nervous system, suggesting that some people may give you the option to beat dementia symptoms or compensate for them.

The findings were recently collected published within the Journal of the Alzheimer's Association Alzheimer's and dementia. For the study, researchers pooled data from eight previous research projects involving a complete of 44,531 people, 1,703 of whom had been diagnosed with dementia. The age of the people analyzed was between 49 and 81 years.

The researchers checked out psychological test results to find out whether someone has been diagnosed with dementia, in addition to results from neuropathological data, similar to autopsies, during which nerve and brain tissue are examined for signs of dementia.

One of the 2 psychological tests the researchers used assesses the so-called “Big Five” personality traits. Accordingly Psychology todayEach person's personality includes these five characteristics to various degrees:

  • Openness to experience, including mental curiosity and artistic imagination
  • Conscientiousness, which incorporates tendencies toward organization, productivity, and responsibility
  • Extraversion, similar to sociability and assertiveness
  • Agreeableness, which incorporates tendencies toward compassion, respect, and trust in others
  • Neuroticism, which incorporates tendencies toward anxiety and depression

The traits are assessed by asking people to rate their agreement with dozens of statements, similar to “I make friends easily” and “I am impatient.”

In this latest study, researchers found that top levels of neuroticism and low levels of conscientiousness and extroversion are related to an increased risk of a diagnosis of dementia. They also found that individuals with high scores on Openness to Experience and Agreeableness were less more likely to receive a dementia diagnosis.

In addition to the Big Five, researchers searched for associations with a second sort of psychological trait referred to as “subjective well-being,” which incorporates self-reported measures of how people experience and evaluate their very own lives. The three subjective measures on this latest study were:

  • Life satisfaction: Thinking and feeling that your life goes well
  • Positive Affect: Frequently experiencing positive emotions and moods
  • Negative affect: Frequently experiencing unpleasant and stressful feelings and moods

People with high negative affect scores were more more likely to be diagnosed with dementia, and folks with high positive affect scores were at lower risk.

As we age, there are sometimes subtle changes in memory, pondering and reasoning skills. However, dementia might be diagnosed when serious changes affect on a regular basis life. Dementia affects greater than 6 million people within the United States and that number is anticipated to just about triple by 2060 CDC.

Previous studies have linked physical, social and cognitive engagement to healthier cognitive aging, and assessing the association between personality and dementia risk could help discover protective patterns. The study authors noted that previous research shows that amongst people ages 75 and older who shouldn't have cognitive signs of dementia, as much as a 3rd of those people have physical signs of brain changes related to Alzheimer's disease, probably the most common type of dementia dementia. A greater understanding of why some people have cognitive signs of dementia and others don't could help with prevention and treatment.

“Personality through behavior is typically thought to be related to dementia risk,” one article states Summary concerning the University of California, Davis study, citing study writer Emorie Beck, PhD, assistant professor of psychology.

Beck said an example of a behavior that will impact dementia risk is that individuals with high conscientiousness scores could also be more inclined to eat well and handle their health, which affects an individual's health in the long run could protect.