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Personality Traits among Community-Dwelling Chinese Older Adults in the Greater Chicago Area

Rush Institute for Healthy Aging, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60701, USA

Special Issues: The Population Study of Chinese Elderly-PINE Study

Objectives: Personality traits are important indicators of health and well-being. Neuroticism and conscientiousness in particular, are closely associated with morbidity and mortality in old age. However, little is known regarding the levels of these two key personality traits among U.S. Chinese older adults. This report aimed to examine the levels of personality traits among this population. Methods: Data were from the PINE study, a population-based study of U.S. Chinese older adults aged 60 and above. We measured neuroticism and conscientiousness using modified NEO personality inventory. Results: Of the 3,159 community-dwelling Chinese older adults, 58.9% were female, and mean age was 72.8 years. Compared to neuroticism, conscientiousness trait was endorsed higher among Chinese older adults in our sample. Each conscientiousness item had at least 67.8% of participant endorsement, in comparison to the lowest endorsement rate of 14.3% in the neuroticism measure. Younger age (r-neuroticism = -0.06, r-conscientiousness = -0.14) and fewer children (r-neuroticism = -0.06, r-conscientiousness = -0.06) were correlated with both traits. Female gender (r = 0.11), poorer health status (r = -0.26), poorer quality of life (r = -0.23) and worsened health over the past year (r = -0.15) were correlated with higher levels of neuroticism. In contrast, male gender (r = -0.05), better health status (r = 0.20), higher quality of life (r = 0.17) and improved health over the past year (r = 0.07) were correlated with higher levels of conscientiousness. Education level (r = 0.15) was positively correlated with higher levels of conscientiousness, but not with neuroticism; whereas income level (r = -0.04) was negatively correlated with neuroticism but not with conscientiousness. Conclusion: U.S. Chinese older adults generally possess higher agreement level on conscientiousness traits than neuroticism. Future analysis should be conducted to explore the complex associations between different personality traits among Chinese aging population, Our study also calls for further in-depth studies to understand adverse health outcomes associated with specific personality traits among minority older adults.
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