Publications by authors named "Patrick L Hill"

86 Publications

Maintaining sense of purpose in midlife predicts better physical health.

J Psychosom Res 2021 Apr 3:110485. Epub 2021 Apr 3.

Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, United States of America.

Objective: Having a sense of purpose in life is fundamental to psychological and physical well-being. Despite the benefits of purpose, it may be difficult to hold onto purpose as people age. The present research addressed four aims: (1) to estimate average change in sense of purpose during midlife; (2) to test associations between purpose levels and later physical health; (3) to test associations between purpose change and later physical health; (4) to examine the cross-cultural generalizability of findings.

Methods: We used reliable change indices to estimate change in sense of purpose during midlife in three prospective cohorts: one comprised predominately of White participants in the U.S. (N = 2692), a second predominately of African American participants in the U.S. (N = 248), and a third of Japanese participants in Tokyo (N = 644). Next, we used linear regression to examine associations between purpose levels and purpose change and later self-reported general health and chronic health conditions.

Results: At the group level, purpose declined slightly across time (Cohen's ds = -0.08 to -0.17). At the individual level, 10-14% of participants reliably decreased in purpose, whereas only 6-8% of participants reliably increased in purpose. Consistent with our preregistered hypotheses, higher purpose levels predicted better health in the two larger samples (βs = 0.10-0.18, small effects) and more positive purpose change predicted better health in all three samples (βs = 0.08--0.22., small to medium effects).

Conclusion: Together, these findings suggest that both having a sense of purpose and holding onto it may be important for physical health in middle to older adulthood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2021.110485DOI Listing
April 2021

Associations Between Everyday Discrimination and Sleep: Tests of Moderation by Ethnicity and Sense of Purpose.

Ann Behav Med 2021 Mar 24. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Background: Everyday discrimination holds pernicious effects across most aspects of health, including a pronounced stress response. However, work is needed on when discrimination predicts sleep outcomes, with respect to potential moderators of these associations.

Purpose: The current study sought to advance the past literature by examining the associations between everyday discrimination and sleep outcomes in an ethnically diverse sample, allowing tests of moderation by ethnic group. We also examined the role of sense of purpose, a potential resilience factor, as another moderator.

Methods: Participants in the Hawaii Longitudinal Study of Personality and Health (n = 758; 52.8% female; mage: 60 years, sd = 2.03) completed assessments for everyday discrimination, sleep duration, daytime dysfunction due to sleep, sleep quality, and sense of purpose.

Results: In the full sample, everyday discrimination was negatively associated with sleep duration, sleep quality, and sense of purpose, while positively associated with daytime dysfunction due to sleep. The associations were similar in magnitude across ethnic groups (Native Hawaiian, White/Caucasian, Japanese/Japanese-American), and were not moderated by sense of purpose, a potential resilience factor.

Conclusions: The ill-effects on health due to everyday discrimination may operate in part on its role in disrupting sleep, an issue that appears to similarly impact several groups. The current research extends these findings to underrepresented groups in the discrimination and sleep literature. Future research is needed to better disentangle the day-to-day associations between sleep and discrimination, and identify which sources of discrimination may be most problematic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/abm/kaab012DOI Listing
March 2021

Associations between Trauma during Adolescence and Sense of Purpose in Middle-to-Late Adulthood.

Int J Behav Dev 2020 Sep 13;44(5):441-446. Epub 2020 Jan 13.

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA.

Early adverse experiences can hold lasting influence on later life outcomes, particularly during formative developmental periods such as adolescence. The current study evaluates the impact of different kinds of adolescent trauma on later sense of purpose in adulthood, using data from the Hawaii Longitudinal Study of Personality and Health. Participants ( = 545) retrospectively reported three kinds of trauma during adolescence: 1) non-betrayal trauma, such as a natural disaster; 2) low betrayal trauma, such as being abused by a stranger; and 3) high betrayal trauma, such as being abused by a relative. At a later assessment, participants ( = 60.15, = 1.96) reported their sense of purpose. Trauma scores were uncorrelated with sense of purpose for the overall sample. However, the associations differed when comparing two of the largest cultural groups in the sample, Japanese-Americans and Native Hawaiians. For participants who identified as Japanese-American, trauma scores held a negative association with later sense of purpose across multiple measures. Results are discussed with respect to how early life experiences differentially impact purpose development across individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0165025419896864DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7983047PMC
September 2020

When the end feels near: sense of purpose predicts well-being as a function of future time perspective.

Aging Ment Health 2021 Mar 1:1-11. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA.

Objectives: While sense of purpose is a robust predictor of well-being, little work has considered whether the associations vary based on future time perspective. Exploring this possibility is important given that the extent to which one may pursue their life aims could be dependent upon how much time they feel that they have remaining.

Methods: Using three samples (total  = 2333), the current study considered the association between sense of purpose and future time perspective. Moderation tests also examined whether the associations between sense of purpose and three well-being components (positive affect, negative affect, life satisfaction) differed as a function of future time perspective.

Results: Across all three studies, people with a broader time perspective reported a higher sense of purpose. Both constructs predicted greater well-being, even after accounting for chronological age. Future time perspective moderated the associations between sense of purpose and well-being, such that the negative association between sense of purpose and negative affect was stronger for those with a broader time perspective and the positive association between sense of purpose and life satisfaction was stronger for those with a limited time perspective.

Conclusion: The well-being benefits associated with sense of purpose in adulthood may depend on future time perspective. Findings are discussed in the context of how purpose can be harnessed to enhance well-being even when older adults feel that their time left is limited.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2021.1891203DOI Listing
March 2021

Personality pathology predicts increased informant-reported, but not performance-based, cognitive decline: Findings from two samples.

Personal Disord 2021 Jan 28. Epub 2021 Jan 28.

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis.

Research on the relationship between normal-range personality and cognitive aging has demonstrated consistent, modest effects. The current investigation increases our understanding of unhealthy cognitive aging by testing whether personality disorders (PDs), specifically borderline, avoidant, and obsessive-compulsive PDs, show prospective associations with the onset of cognitive problems. Interpersonal stressful life events and social support were expected to mediate these relationships. The current investigation used data from 2 longitudinal studies of older adulthood: the Alzheimer's disease Research Center cohort (ADRC, N = 434, Mage = 69.95, 56% women) and the St. Louis Personality and Aging Network study (SPAN, N = 1,058, Mage = 65.92, 54% women). The ADRC study administered a battery of neuropsychological tests to assess cognitive ability/memory. Borderline PD was measured with a composite from the NEO Five-Factor Inventory. The SPAN study administered self-, informant, and interview measures of the three PDs; a free-recall task; and an informant report measure of cognitive problems. Borderline PD features exhibited cross-sectional correlations with memory (ADRC: r = -.11; SPAN: all rs = -.08), general cognitive ability (ADRC: r = -.11), and informant-reported cognitive problems (rs ranged from .15 to .39). Most importantly, borderline PD features predicted an increase in informant-reported cognitive problems in SPAN participants (standardized bs = .13 and .15) over a 2-year period, but they did not predict a deterioration in the performance-based cognitive measures in either study. Avoidant and obsessive-compulsive PDs exhibited little association with cognitive aging. Neither interpersonal variable mediated any of these effects. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/per0000434DOI Listing
January 2021

Maintaining Sense of Purpose Following Health Adversity in Older Adulthood: A Propensity Score Matching Examination.

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 2021 Jan 7. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO.

Objectives: Research has demonstrated sense of purpose predicts better health in older adulthood. However, work is limited with respect to understanding how experiencing a health event or illness diagnosis impacts older adults' sense of purpose.

Method: The current study employed a propensity score matching approach to compare older adults who did or did not experience an adverse health event on changes in sense of purpose across three waves of the Health and Retirement Study. Sense of purpose was assessed at each wave, and changes were compared between people who did versus did not experience one of seven diagnoses and health events.

Results: When propensity score matching was employed, no differences in trajectories of change for sense of purpose were found with respect to all seven events. Individual differences in trajectories though were evidenced across groups.

Discussion: The current findings suggest that even when health events impact older adults' physical functioning or place limitations on their activity, it may hold little ramifications for their sense of purpose. Future research should consider this potential for resilience, focusing on how adults compensate for losses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbab002DOI Listing
January 2021

Associations between depressive symptoms with perceived future time and opportunities: tests of unique prediction and moderation.

Aging Ment Health 2020 Dec 21:1-7. Epub 2020 Dec 21.

Department of Psychology and University Research Priority Program Dynamics of Healthy Aging, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Objectives: Having a broadened perspective on one's future has been associated with better affective well-being, including reduced reports of depressive symptoms. However, research is limited regarding which aspect of future time perspective is associated with depressive symptoms, and whether these findings are consistent across individuals.

Methods: The current study employed data from a nationally representative sample of Swiss adults ( = 1774; mean age: 49.90 years; 51.8% female). Participants completed measures of future time perspective - both perceptions of future time and future opportunities - and depressive symptoms, in addition to reporting on their age, sex, health, and socioeconomic status (the moderators of interest).

Results: Perceived future time and future opportunities were uniquely predictive of depressive symptoms, even when controlling for chronological age and other covariates, though future opportunities held a stronger association with depressive symptoms. Limited evidence was found for moderation, though opportunities may matter more for predicting depressive symptoms among adults in worse health and those with fewer resources.

Discussion: Future time perspective appears moderately associated with depressive symptoms in adulthood, and researchers need to consider multiple aspects of future time perspective rather than as a unitary construct.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2020.1855107DOI Listing
December 2020

Derailment as a risk factor for greater mental health issues following pandemic.

Psychiatry Res 2020 May 13;289:113093. Epub 2020 May 13.

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, United States.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113093DOI Listing
May 2020

Neuroticism predicts informant reported cognitive problems through health behaviors.

Aging Ment Health 2020 Nov 12:1-9. Epub 2020 Nov 12.

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA.

Objective: Personality traits have been linked to cognitive impairment, though work is needed to understand the mechanisms involved. Research also needs to consider alternative markers of cognitive impairment, such as informant report measures. The aim of the current study was to examine the role of health behaviors and social engagement as mediators for the relationship between personality and informant reported cognitive problems. It was expected that neuroticism would predict cognitive problems through negative health behaviors, while conscientiousness might predict cognitive problems through positive health behaviors.

Methods: Using data from the St. Louis Personality and Aging Network study at three time points, spanning approximately 2.27years (= 829, age = 65.95), correlations were computed between the Big Five personality traits and health behaviors at wave 1, social engagement at wave 2, and informant reported cognitive problems at wave 3. Mediation tests examined whether health behaviors and social engagement explained the relationships found between personality and informant reported cognitive problems.

Results: Findings showed that neuroticism at wave 1 significantly predicted informant reported cognitive problems at wave 3 and that health behaviors, specifically wellness maintenance, partially explained this relationship. No significant associations were found between informant reported cognitive problems and conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion, openness, or social engagement.

Conclusion: This study supports claims that neuroticism predicts later cognitive problems and expands on previous literature by demonstrating this relationship using an informant report measure. Furthermore, we found that health behaviors, and specifically wellness maintenance, account for some of the relationship between neuroticism and informant reported cognitive problems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2020.1839857DOI Listing
November 2020

Moving beyond promoting 'Happiness' in gerontology interventions.

Age Ageing 2021 01;50(1):62-64

Department of Psychology & University Research Priority Program Dynamics of Healthy Aging Research, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Researchers have called for gerontologists to spend greater attention on promoting happiness in older adulthood, a point aligned with the general public's interest in finding the keys to being happy later in life. However, targeting and even defining happiness comes with several caveats and challenges, leaving researchers to make difficult decisions regarding measurement and intervention strategies. Instead, the current commentary suggests that gerontology interventions may fare better if researchers focus on specific components of positive psychological functioning. We present sense of purpose and life enjoyment as examples of two such components, and note the potential merit in developing these more focussed intervention programmes. As such, the commentary suggests the value of moving beyond targeting happiness when developing intervention programmes for older adult participants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afaa226DOI Listing
January 2021

Video chatting and appearance satisfaction during COVID-19: Appearance comparisons and self-objectification as moderators.

Int J Eat Disord 2020 12 21;53(12):2038-2043. Epub 2020 Oct 21.

Social Science Division, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California, USA.

Objective: As video chatting has emerged as a leading form of communication for work, education, and socialization during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to investigate the association between video chatting and appearance satisfaction.

Method: Participants included women from the United States (n = 438; age: M = 31.3, SD = 12.71) who completed measures examining their use of video chatting services, self-objectification, video chatting appearance comparison, and appearance satisfaction.

Results: The total time spent on video chatting services was not associated with appearance satisfaction; however, self-objectification moderated the relationship between total hours of video chatting and appearance satisfaction. In addition, participants who engaged in more video chatting appearance comparisons reported lower face and body satisfaction. Furthermore, video chatting appearance comparison was associated with more frequent usage of certain Zoom features, such as the "touch up my appearance" feature, and more time spent looking at oneself on video calls. Finally, those who spent more time engaged with their families over video chatting services reported greater face and body satisfaction.

Discussion: The results of the current study demonstrate that time spent video chatting is not predictive of appearance satisfaction, but that self-objectification can exacerbate these associations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eat.23393DOI Listing
December 2020

Cross-lagged relationships between sense of purpose in life, memory performance, and subjective memory beliefs in adulthood over a 9-year interval.

Aging Ment Health 2020 Sep 21:1-10. Epub 2020 Sep 21.

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA.

Objectives: Previous studies have found a positive association between having a sense of purpose in life and memory functioning in old age. We extend these findings by examining the relationships between sense of purpose, memory performance, and subjective memory beliefs over time in a large sample of adults in mid to later adulthood.

Method: We used data from 3633 participants of the second and third wave of the MIDUS study. Cross-lagged panel analysis investigated the relationships between the variables at the two points, which were approximately 9 years apart, while controlling for gender, age, education, positive and negative affect, and self-rated health.

Results: Sense of purpose in life, memory performance, and subjective memory beliefs were all cross-sectionally related to each other at both times. Longitudinally, sense of purpose was a positive predictor of subjective memory beliefs. Memory performance and subjective memory beliefs positively predicted each other over time. Furthermore, all three variables showed correlated changes over time. Exploratory analyses suggest that the covariates of affect and self-rated health are possible mediators or confounders in respectively the relationship between subjective memory beliefs and later sense of purpose, and sense of purpose and later objective memory performance.

Conclusion: Our findings underscore once more the relevance of sense of purpose in life as a predictor of positive late life functioning, as it is related to both performance-based and subjective cognitive outcomes. More work is needed to understand mechanisms underlying the purpose-memory association in order to develop and implement purpose interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2020.1822284DOI Listing
September 2020

The Relationship Between Career Success and Sense of Purpose: Examining Linkages and Changes.

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 2021 Jan;76(1):78-87

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Objectives: Although researchers have linked sense of purpose to working status, there are few studies examining how specific characteristics of work may correlate with sense of purpose. The aim of the current study is to extend prior research by assessing the degree to which objective and subjective forms of career success-occupational prestige and work satisfaction-are associated with levels of and changes in sense of purpose.

Methods: Participants were part of the Rochester Adult Longitudinal Study (N = 307), which contains multiple cohorts of participants each assessed at multiple waves (full age range: 42-71). We used cross-lagged modeling to test the relationships in our model.

Results: Occupational prestige was not associated with sense of purpose levels and change. However, work satisfaction was positively associated with higher levels of sense of purpose initially, and there was evidence that changes in the 2 constructs were positively correlated.

Discussion: These findings suggest that subjective career success may be more important for sense of purpose than more objective indicators. Findings are discussed with respect to study limitations and guidance for future researchers using secondary data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbaa162DOI Listing
January 2021

Does being active mean being purposeful in older adulthood? Examining the moderating role of retirement.

Psychol Aging 2020 Nov 13;35(7):1050-1057. Epub 2020 Aug 13.

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

The degree to which individuals engage in leisure activities has been shown to predict well-being in older adults, but it is not known whether such activities may help older adults maintain purposefulness into retirement. The current study sought to address whether activity engagement is associated with purpose in life and whether this association differs based on retirement status. We used data from three waves of the Health and Retirement Study between 2008 and 2016. Multilevel growth models accounted for both within- and between-person effects of leisure activity participation and retirement status on change in sense of purpose in life. Participants reported higher sense of purpose on occasions when they engaged more in leisure activities, and more active participants exhibited less decline in purpose over time. Retired individuals showed steeper declines in sense of purpose, but this effect was mitigated among participants reporting greater activity engagement. Leisure activity participation may help to support sense of purpose in life, particularly among retired individuals. These findings underscore the potential for leisure activity interventions to help older adults compensate for loss of work-related roles and maintain purposefulness into retirement. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pag0000568DOI Listing
November 2020

Working toward a purpose: Examining the cross-sectional and longitudinal effects of work characteristics on sense of purpose.

J Pers 2021 Apr 4;89(2):244-257. Epub 2020 Aug 4.

School of Labor and Employment Relations, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA.

Objective: Employment appears to influence employees' sense of purpose, insofar as work roles can provide life direction and allow individuals to fulfill meaningful aims or have regular goal-related activity engagement. However, research is needed on which specific characteristics of the work predict employees' sense of purpose. The current study sought to quantitate the degree to which specific work characteristics, including skill variety, autonomy, coworker support, and supervisor support, were associated with initial levels and changes in purpose. Additionally, we examine positive and negative work-home spillover as moderators of these relationships.

Methods: We examined hypothesized relationships in a subsample (N = 4,963) of a nationally representative panel study which included between two and three assessments of work characteristics, spillover, and sense of purpose, each roughly 10 years apart.

Results: Using multilevel models to assess within-person associations and lagged effects, we found that greater skill variety and coworker support but not autonomy or supervisor support, were associated with higher levels of purpose. Moreover, increases in purpose were associated with higher initial levels of skill variety. These relationships were not moderated by spillover.

Conclusion: Individuals with skill variety and coworker support at work appear to experience the strongest levels of sense of purpose.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12579DOI Listing
April 2021

Why stop at two opinions? Reply to McCrae (2020).

Am Psychol 2020 Jul-Aug;75(5):731-732

Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

McCrae (2020) argues that it is premature to explore interventions focused on personality change. In his commentary, he suggests that interventions should be promoted only if their effects in self-report data are confirmed by the additional opinion of informants. We agree with the essence of his position and would go further by envisioning a new framework for rigorous collaborative research on personality change (Bleidorn et al., 2020). We nevertheless maintain that policymakers would benefit from considering the additional opinion of personality scientists. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000676DOI Listing
July 2020

Sense of purpose predicts daily positive events and attenuates their influence on positive affect.

Emotion 2020 Jun 25. Epub 2020 Jun 25.

Department of Human Development.

Sense of purpose has proven a consistent predictor of positive outcomes during adulthood. However, it remains unclear how purposeful adults respond to positive events in their daily lives. The current study examined whether sense of purpose predicted the frequency of daily positive events, as well as participants' affect on days with a positive event, across 8 days in an adult sample ( = 1959; mean age: 56 years). Sense of purpose predicted a greater frequency of daily positive events. Moreover, sense of purpose moderated the associations between daily positive events and daily positive affect; purposeful adults experienced less of an increase in positive affect both on the current day and the day following the positive event. Findings are discussed with respect to how purpose in life may serve homeostatic functions, insofar that having a life direction reduces responsivity to daily events and promote affect stability. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000776DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7759594PMC
June 2020

Derailment as a risk factor for greater mental health issues following pandemic.

Psychiatry Res 2020 07 13;289:113093. Epub 2020 May 13.

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, United States.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113093DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7219393PMC
July 2020

Purpose by design or disaster: Preserving a sense of purpose amid environmental uncertainty.

J Environ Psychol 2020 Jun 30;69:101436. Epub 2020 Apr 30.

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, United States.

Psychological research suggests a sense of purpose in life is a coveted asset, with well-established linkages to well-being and healthy functioning. But how do individuals preserve this sense when previously reliable settings - and the opportunities they afford - are profoundly disrupted? The current moment provides a formidable test of this question, as widespread transmission of Covid-19 and intense efforts to slow it drastically transform our environment. Here, we consider how the experience of purpose may be impacted by disruptions in three key person-environment interactions: , , and . We hope to motivate critical thinking about how this pandemic, and our collective responses to it, influence the experience of purpose and delineate a research agenda that may inform how individuals' can preserve a sense of engagement and contribution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2020.101436DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7192066PMC
June 2020

Daily cognitive complaints and engagement in older adulthood: Personality traits are more predictive than cognitive performance.

Psychol Aging 2020 May 5;35(3):317-328. Epub 2020 Mar 5.

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich.

Cognitive complaints and engagement in cognitive activities are two consistent predictors of cognitive aging outcomes, including risk for nonnormative decline. Though research has considered predictors of complaints and engagement in general, little work has attended to the fact that these fluctuate at the daily level. The current study examined individual difference predictors of means and variability for engagement and complaints across 10 days in a sample of older adults (n = 136; Mage = 70.45 years). When comparing personality traits to indicators of cognitive performance, personality differences appeared better unique predictors for these measures of daily cognitive life. Specifically, even when accounting for demographics, measures of cognitive performance, and the other personality traits investigated, older adults higher on openness to experience reported fewer daily cognitive complaints and more engagement on average, as well as greater daily variability in engagement. In addition, higher neuroticism predicted greater variability in reports of cognitive complaints across days. Implications are discussed with respect to how these findings advance our understanding of cognitive complaints and engagement in daily life. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pag0000452DOI Listing
May 2020

Future time perspective and affect in daily life across adulthood and old age: Findings from two micro-longitudinal studies.

J Pers 2020 10 6;88(5):950-964. Epub 2020 Mar 6.

Department of Psychology and University Research Priority Program "Dynamics of Healthy Aging", University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Objective: Future time perspective (FTP) refers to individuals' perceptions of the future as either open-ended or limited. Despite well-documented individual differences in FTP across the adult life span, little is known about short-term variations of FTP within individuals and the within-person associations between FTP and affective experiences.

Method: Study 1 used data from a daily diary study over 10 days (N = 564) with a wide age range across the adult life span (M = 48.30). Study 2 used data from an ambulatory assessment study over 10 days (N = 136) obtained from healthy older adults (M = 70.45).

Results: Findings suggest that 10% to 20% of the total variance in FTP was within-person and 29% to 62% of the total variance in affect was within-person. Multilevel modeling showed that occasions with a more open-ended FTP were occasions with more positive affect, energetic arousal, calmness, and positive valence, and less negative affect. Age moderated the within-person associations between FTP and positive and negative affect as well as energetic arousal, with weaker associations for older adults.

Conclusions: This research demonstrates the importance of looking at both within-person and between-person differences with respect to the associations between FTP and affective experiences in daily life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12543DOI Listing
October 2020

Hurricane exposure and personality development.

J Pers 2021 02 25;89(1):35-49. Epub 2020 Feb 25.

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA.

Objective: We evaluated the role of natural disaster adversity on personality development in the wake of a hurricane, and the moderating role of previous hurricane exposure.

Method: We used a two-wave longitudinal design and a diverse sample of emerging adults (n = 691; mean age = 22 years; 72% females, 27% European American, 29% Latino, 23% Asian American, 15% African American, 6% Multiracial/Other) who were exposed to one of the most damaging hurricanes on record, though to differing degrees. Immediately after the hurricane, we assessed objective individual-level hurricane exposure, previous exposure to hurricanes, demographics, socioeconomic status, and Big Five personality traits. One year later, we re-assessed Big Five personality traits.

Results: Using latent change models, we found significant individual differences both in participants' initial levels of personality traits at baseline, as well as in their developmental patterns of change in the year following the hurricane. However, there was no evidence of mean-level change. Moreover, neither hurricane exposure level, nor its interaction with previous exposure showed statistically significant associations with the rates of change in any personality trait.

Conclusions: The present findings support a stability account, whereby individuals largely maintain their personality dispositions following an adverse life event, in this case a hurricane.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12542DOI Listing
February 2021

Purposeful engagement as a motivation for dementia caregiving: Comment on Lang and Fowers (2019).

Am Psychol 2020 01;75(1):113-114

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

Comments on an article by S. F. Lang and B. J. Fowers (see record 2018-24691-001). In Lang and Fowers' (2019) article, they provide multiple arguments for why dementia caregiving persists despite the seemingly great evolutionary risk. Adding to their list of considerations, the current commentary provides another potential explanation, namely, that individuals may enact dementia caregiving because it provides engagement toward purposeful aims. Having a sense of purpose predicts multiple evolutionary benefits, including greater longevity, and we discuss here 2 routes by which dementia caregiving may fulfill the role of purposeful engagement. First, it provides a mechanism for suiting some individuals' broader goals of helping others in need. Second, it may allow individuals an opportunity for reflection upon what constitutes personally meaningful pursuits. The commentary ends with a consideration of why adding purpose to the discussion of dementia caregiving can assist researchers and practice professionals interested in helping promote caregiver well-being. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000511DOI Listing
January 2020

Attaching a new perspective to the associations between marriage and immune functioning: Comment on Kiecolt-Glaser (2018).

Am Psychol 2020 01;75(1):108-110

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

Comments on an article by J. K. Kiecolt-Glaser (see record 2018-62311-007). Kiecolt-Glaser (2018) provided a valuable review of how negative relationship behaviors can impact immune system functioning. However, by considering how dispositional characteristics may impact the literature linking romantic relationships to immune system changes, one may take a new perspective on her review. This comment provides an overview of how individual differences in attachment may be used to predict immune system functioning, as well as the relationship behaviors that are said to initiate changes to the immune system. We conclude by outlining the ways in which Kiecolt-Glaser's review can be used to advance research examining the links between attachment and health. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000491DOI Listing
January 2020

The policy relevance of personality traits.

Am Psychol 2019 12;74(9):1056-1067

Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Personality traits are powerful predictors of outcomes in the domains of education, work, relationships, health, and well-being. The recognized importance of personality traits has raised questions about their policy relevance, that is, their potential to inform policy actions designed to improve human welfare. Traditionally, the use of personality traits in applied settings has been predicated on their ability to predict valued outcomes, typically under the assumption that traits are functionally unchanging. This assumption, however, is both untrue and a limiting factor on using personality traits more widely in applied settings. In this article, we present the case that traits can serve both as relatively stable predictors of success and actionable targets for policy changes and interventions. Though trait change will likely prove a more difficult target than typical targets in applied interventions, it also may be a more fruitful one given the variety of life domains affected by personality traits. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000503DOI Listing
December 2019

Personality traits predict dietary habits in middle-to-older adults.

Psychol Health Med 2020 03 7;25(3):379-387. Epub 2019 Nov 7.

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, USA.

Personality traits are consistently associated with health behaviors, but little research has examined the role of personality on eating habits among middle-to-older adults. The current study (n = 665) examined the associations between traits and dietary habits and whether healthy eating predicted health at age 60, with the Hawaii Personality and Health Cohort. Eating healthy foods was associated with higher agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness, and predicted better self-rated health and lower BMI. Eating unhealthy foods was associated with lower agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness, and predicted lower self-rated health. Results were not moderated by SES.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2019.1687918DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7033005PMC
March 2020

Linking openness to cognitive ability in older adulthood: The role of activity diversity.

Aging Ment Health 2020 07 26;24(7):1079-1087. Epub 2019 Aug 26.

Department of Educational Psychology and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA.

Relatively few studies have examined the reasons older individuals participate in activities that may benefit cognition with aging. Personality traits, particularly, openness to experience, are likely to influence how activities are selected. Openness to experience has also reliably shown to relate to cognitive and intellectual capacities. The current study tested whether diversity in activity helped to explain the overlap between openness to experience and cognitive functioning in an older adult sample (n = 476, mean age: 72.5 years). Results suggest that openness is a better predictor of activity diversity than of time spent engaged in activities or time spent in cognitively challenging activities. Further, activity diversity explained significant variance in the relationship between openness and cognitive ability for most constructs examined. This relationship did not vary with age, but differed as a function of education level, such that participating in a more diverse array of activities was most beneficial for those with less formal education. These results suggest that engagement with a diverse behavioral repertoire in late life may compensate for lack of early life resources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2019.1655705DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7042045PMC
July 2020

Looking on the bright side of life: Gratitude and experiences of interpersonal transgressions in adulthood and daily life.

J Pers 2020 06 24;88(3):430-446. Epub 2019 Jul 24.

Department of Psychology and University Research Priority Program "Dynamics of Healthy Aging", University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Objective: Gratitude plays an important role in individual and social well-being. However, less is known about the link between gratitude and experiences of interpersonal stressors. The current research examined the associations between gratitude and interpersonal transgressions.

Method: One cross-sectional study with a broad age range and two daily diary studies (total N = 2,348; total age range: 18-91) were used to test the associations on the between- and within-person level.

Results: A consistent result across all studies was that dispositionally grateful individuals tended to report fewer interpersonal transgressions than less grateful people. In turn, people who generally reported more interpersonal transgressions were less grateful in daily life. Moreover, higher gratitude on one specific day was associated with fewer reported transgressions on the same day. However, the results from the daily diary studies indicated differences between the samples. Whereas gratitude was consistently associated with interpersonal transgressions in one daily diary sample, the findings in the second daily diary sample were less consistent.

Conclusion: The present findings suggest that grateful people tend to perceive their social exchanges differently and/or actually experience fewer interpersonal transgressions. Future work is needed to test the underlying mechanisms of this negative association.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12501DOI Listing
June 2020

Pathways Linking Childhood Personality to Later Life Outcomes.

Child Dev Perspect 2019 Jun 19;13(2):116-120. Epub 2019 Apr 19.

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO.

Dispositional characteristics are associated with important life outcomes across the lifespan, often predicting outcomes decades in advance. Evidence has accrued to demonstrate that personality characteristics measured during childhood and adolescence show unique effects on later life outcomes above and beyond adult personality. Currently it is unclear why personality produces unique effects at different life stages, given the modest consistency of personality across the lifespan. The current article sets forth potential explanations for why these unique predictive effects may occur, charting multiple pathways that link childhood personality to later outcomes that differ from how adult personality influences the same products. We conclude by providing directions for future longitudinal investigations into when, why, and how assessments of childhood personality can help advance our understanding of lifespan development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cdep.12322DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8018663PMC
June 2019