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Personality and Other Lifelong Influences on Older-Age Health and Wellbeing: Preliminary Findings in Two Scottish Samples

Harris, MA and Brett, CE and Starr, JM and Deary, IJ and Johnson, W (2016) Personality and Other Lifelong Influences on Older-Age Health and Wellbeing: Preliminary Findings in Two Scottish Samples. European Journal of Personality, 30 (5). pp. 438-455. ISSN 0890-2070

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Abstract

Recent observations that personality traits are related to later-life health and wellbeing outcomes have inspired considerable interest in exploring the physiological mechanisms involved. Other factors, such as cognitive ability and education, also show longitudinal influences on health and wellbeing, but it is not yet clear how all these predictors and other early-life circumstances together contribute to later-life health and wellbeing. In this preliminary study, we assessed hypothesised relations among these variables across the life course using structural equation modelling in a sample assessed on dependability (a personality trait related to conscientiousness) in childhood, cognitive ability and social class in both childhood and older age, education, and health and subjective wellbeing in older age. Our models indicated that both health and subjective wellbeing in older age were influenced by childhood IQ and social class, via education, rather than via older-age cognitive ability and social class. Some older-age personality traits mediated the effects of early-life variables on subjective wellbeing in particular, but childhood dependability did not have a significant effect on older-age health or wellbeing. We replicated our models in a much larger sample assessed on many of the same variables in older age. Models constrained to the parameters estimated in the exploratory sample also fit data from this larger second sample. Our results did not provide support for a role of childhood dependability in promoting older-age health and wellbeing, but did highlight the importance of other early-life factors and, in particular, personal characteristics that contribute to educational attainment. Further, personality in later life may mediate the effects of such early-life factors on health and subjective wellbeing.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Harris, M. A., Brett, C. E., Starr, J. M., Deary, I. J., and Johnson, W. (2016) Personality and Other Lifelong Influences on Older-Age Health and Wellbeing: Preliminary Findings in Two Scottish Samples. Eur. J. Pers., 30: 438–455. doi: 10.1002/per.2068., which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/per.2068 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1701 Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2016 10:50
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2016 10:50
DOI or Identification number: 10.1002/per.2068
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4659

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