Sensory functioning and personality development among older adults.

TitleSensory functioning and personality development among older adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsStephan, Y, Sutin, AR, Bosselut, G, Terracciano, A
JournalPsychology and Aging
Date Published03/2017
ISSN Number1939-1498
KeywordsOlder Adults, Personality

Deficits in sensory functioning, such as poor vision and hearing, take a significant toll on quality of life. Little is known, however, about their relation with personality development across adulthood. This study examined whether baseline and change in vision and hearing were associated with personality change over a 4-year period. Participants (N = 7,471; Mage = 66.89; 59% women) were drawn from the Health and Retirement Study. They provided data on vision, hearing, and personality both at baseline and 4 years later. Poor vision and hearing at baseline and declines in vision and hearing over time were independently related to steeper declines in extraversion, agreeableness, openness, and conscientiousness, and less decline in neuroticism, controlling for demographic factors, disease burden, and depressive symptoms. Sensory functioning was generally a stronger predictor of personality change than disease burden or depressive symptoms. Consistent with evidence that poor and worsening sensory functions compromise individuals' interactions with the social and physical environment, this study found deficits in hearing and vision were also associated with maladaptive personality trajectories in older adults.

Alternate JournalPsychol Aging
Citation Key8958
PubMed ID28287784
PubMed Central IDPMC5481780
Grant ListR03 AG051960 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States