Answer: In our study of personality change in individuals aged 80+ we found that over a 6 year period individuals did not change in emotional stability, however, in line with previous research they got less extravert or outgoing. The only health aspect that could be related to an accelerated change in extraversion was impaired hearing at the first measurement occasion.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Answer: The unexpected finding in this study was that overall disease load, self-rated health, functional capacity, impaired vision, self-reported cognitive impairment, and measured cognitive status could not be related to change in personality.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Answer: In general, health care directs focus on prevention and treatment of diseases that impact more general functional capacity and quality of life in the elderly. Our study shows that among all ill-health conditions, a specific functional deterioration such as impaired hearing was unique in its contribution to accelerate the change in personality.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Answer: Future research needs to acknowledge that personality is not only a complex entity, but also flexible and affectable to changing health and social conditions across the life-span.