The Impact of Personality Change on Health among Older Americans: Findings from the Health and Retirement Study

Latrica E. Best, University of Louisville

Using three waves of the Health and Retirement Study, this study seeks to examine the relationship between race/ethnicity, personality, and health among older U.S. adults. Personality variation by race/ethnicity is initially established. Additionally, the study evaluates whether personality, measured at the trait level and as a change score over time, differentially impacts health, as defined by self-reported and measured hypertension, in different race/ethnic groups. Initial analyses display wide variation in personality reports by race/ethnicity. Neuroticism and conscientiousness appear to be important personality constructs that are significantly related to adverse health among Blacks and Hispanics.

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Presented in Session 23: Psychosocial Factors in Aging