Personality traits and the risk of urinary incontinence: Evidence from three longitudinal samples.

TitlePersonality traits and the risk of urinary incontinence: Evidence from three longitudinal samples.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsStephan, Y, Sutin, AR, Terracciano, A
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
ISSN Number1099-1166
KeywordsAged, Diabetes Mellitus, Female, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Neuroticism, Personality, Personality Disorders, Personality Inventory, Quality of Life, United States

OBJECTIVE: Urinary incontinence (UI) is a common condition with a substantial negative impact on older adults' quality of life. This study examines whether individual differences in behavioral, cognitive, and emotional traits assessed by the five major dimensions of personality are related to the risk of concurrent and incident UI.

METHODS: Participants were older women and men (N > 26,000) from the Midlife in the United States Survey, the Health and Retirement Study, and the English Longitudinal Study of Aging. In each cohort, personality traits (measured with the Midlife Development Inventory) and demographic (age, sex, education, and race), clinical (body mass index, diabetes, blood pressure), and behavioral (smoking) factors were assessed at baseline. UI was assessed at baseline and again 8-20 years later. Results for each cohort were combined in random-effect meta-analyses.

RESULTS: Consistently across cohorts, higher neuroticism and lower conscientiousness were related to a higher risk of concurrent and incident UI. To a lesser extent, extraversion, openness, and agreeableness were also related to lower risk of concurrent and incident UI. BMI, diabetes, blood pressure, and smoking partially accounted for these associations. There was little evidence that age or sex moderated the associations.

CONCLUSIONS: The present study provides novel, robust, and replicable evidence linking personality traits to UI. The higher vulnerability for UI for individuals who score higher on neuroticism and lower on conscientiousness is consistent with findings for other multifactorial geriatric syndromes. Personality traits can help identify individuals at risk and may help contextualize the clinical presentation of comorbid emotional, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms.

Citation Key13873
PubMed ID38558175
Grant ListUL1TR000427 / TR / NCATS NIH HHS / United States