Caregiver personality traits can affect health
(Medical Xpress) -- Taking care of an aging or disabled loved one can be hazardous to your health. But certain personality traits appear to reduce caregivers' risk for health problems, reports a new Cornell study.
"Personality accounted for about a quarter of the variance in caregivers' mental health and about 10 percent of the variance in their physical health," said lead author Corinna Loeckenhoff, assistant professor of human development in Cornell's College of Human Ecology.
The study, published in Psychology and Aging (26:3), was co-authored with Paul Duberstein and Bruce Friedman of the University of Rochester and Paul Costa Jr. of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
To better understand what puts some caregivers at greater risk or makes them more resilient, the authors analyzed data on more than 500 informal caregivers of older adults with multiple impairments in New York, Ohio and West Virginia. Of the caregivers, 98 percent were white and 72 percent were female; their mean age was 63.
The researchers examined the links among caregivers' personality traits; self-reported health; two factors thought to affect health -- caregiver strain (feeling overloaded, worried) and self-efficacy (feeling confident in one's abilities); and the physical and mental impairment of the care recipients.
They measured five basic personality traits to assess the caregivers' tendency to be negative/anxious (neuroticism), energetic/outgoing (extraversion), inventive/curious (openness), friendly/compassionate (agreeableness) and efficient/organized (conscientiousness).
As expected, the team found personality-health links. Extraversion was positively associated with mental and physical health, for example, whereas neuroticism was negatively associated with mental and physical health. The researchers also found that both caregiver strain and self-efficacy played a role in this association between personality and health.
"We expected that self-efficacy would play an important role for subjective health, but we were surprised to see that it was much more important than caregiver strain," said Loeckenhoff. "In fact, it mediated every single significant association between personality traits and subjective health that we observed."
The authors suggest that one reason why personality traits affect health is that these traits powerfully influence caregivers' perceptions of their ability to successfully manage the daily challenges they face.
"Our findings tie in with the recent literature on resilience," said Loeckenhoff. "To understand how people deal with a challenge, it's not sufficient to focus on the sources of stress and strain. It is also critical to examine the resources that people can draw on.
"Our findings suggest that initiatives to assist caregivers could usefully include measures of personality traits to identify caregiver strengths and weaknesses and those most at risk. Interventions might also target self-efficacy beliefs because while personality traits are relatively stable over time, self-efficacy beliefs can change as a result of verbal instruction, personal experience and observing role models."
Journal reference: Psychology and Aging
Provided by Cornell University
- Researchers identify personality traits Apr 03, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Study: Personality traits associated with stress and worry can be hazardous to your health Aug 18, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Personality plays role in body weight, study says Jul 18, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Personality study shows risk of first depression episode late in life Apr 11, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Enhancing cognition in older adults also changes personality Jan 18, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
May 23, 2013 Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
A brief visual task can predict IQ, according to a new study. This surprisingly simple exercise measures the brain's unconscious ability to filter out visual movement. The study shows that individuals whose ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 18 hours ago | 4.5 / 5 (10) | 1 |
Nervous about that upcoming job interview? You might want to take steps to reduce your jitters, especially if you are a man.
Psychology & Psychiatry 18 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Research by U of T Mississauga psychology professor Glenn Schellenberg reveals that two key personality traits – openness-to-experience and conscientiousness—predict better than IQ ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 20 hours ago | 3 / 5 (2) | 1 |
Parents naturally are concerned for their children's safety, particularly when there is news of a child abduction that happens close to home. Finding the balance between emotions and the "teachable moment" as parents talk ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 21 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A new report on suicide in Ireland shows that suicide cases experienced a significant number (and intensity) of life events in the 6 months prior to their death.
Psychology & Psychiatry 21 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Regulating the distribution of power in neurons is done by a system that makes the national electric grid look simple by comparison. Each neuron has several thousand mitochondria confined ...
12 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (6) | 0 |
Teams of highly respected Alzheimer's researchers failed to replicate what appeared to be breakthrough results for the treatment of this brain disease when they were published last year in the journal Science.
16 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 2 |
The British Menopause Society and Women's Health Concern have today released updated guidelines on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to provide clarity around the role of HRT, the benefits and the risks. The new guidelines ...
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health report they have discovered in mouse studies that a small molecule released in the spinal cord triggers a process that is later experienced in the brain as ...
16 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Little is known about why asthma develops, how it constricts the airway or why response to treatments varies between patients. Now, a team of researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College, Columbia University Medical Center ...
16 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Ethnic background plays a surprisingly large role in how diabetes develops on a cellular level, according to two new studies led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
13 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |