Concurrent and prospective relationships between social engagement and personality traits in older adulthood

Jennifer Lodi-Smith, Brent W. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The current research examined the longitudinal relationship between social engagement and personality traits in older adults. Specifically, the present research examined how engagement in family and community roles related to conscientiousness, agreeableness, and emotional stability in a sample of 100 Illinois residents age 60-86 years assessed twice over a period of 2.5 years. Social engagement and personality traits were related in three ways. First, concurrent relationships during Wave 1 suggested that agreeable older adults are more socially engaged. Next, Wave 1 standing on both personality traits and social engagement predicted respective change over time. In addition, changes in engagement and personality traits covaried over time. The specific patterns presented in this study suggest that although some relationships were consistent with research findings in young adulthood and midlife, role investment in old age may have a distinctly different meaning than role investment earlier in the life span. These patterns suggest that personality traits can both inform our understanding of engagement during older adulthood and that personality traits may be meaningful outcomes of the aging experience in their own right.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)720-727
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology and aging
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Personality traits
  • Social engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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