Ramsey et al., 2016. The effects of daily co-occurrence of affect on older adults' reactivity to health stressors

Ramsey, J. L., Neupert, S. D., Mroczek, D. K., & Spiro III, A. (2016). The effects of daily co-occurrence of affect on older adults’ reactivity to health stressors. Psychology & health, 31(3), 364-378.

Year: 
2016
Status: 
complete
Abstract: 

Objectives. The present study examined age differences among older adults in the daily co-occurrence of affect and its potential role in buffering the negative effects of health stressors.

Design. Participants were from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study (NAS) and included 249 young-old adults (age = 60–79 years, M=71.6) and 64 old-old adults (age = 80–89, M = 82.9) who completed questionnaires assessing stressors, physical health symptoms, and positive and negative affect on eight consecutive days.

Results. An independent samples t-test showed young-old and old-old adults did not significantly differ in their mean levels of daily co-occurrence of affect. The between-person relationships among stressors, health, and daily co-occurrence of affect revealed that neither stressors nor health were significantly related to daily co-occurrence of affect. However, results from a multilevel model revealed a three-way cross-level interaction (Health Stressor X Age Group X Co-Occurrence of Affect) where old-old adults with higher levels of co-occurrence of affect were less emotionally reactive to health stressors than young-old adults.

Conclusion. These findings provide support for the assertion that co-occurrence of affect functions in an adaptive capacity and highlight the importance of examining domain specific stressors.

Lee et al., 2015. Do cherished children age successfully? Longitudinal findings from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study.

Lee, L. O., Aldwin, C. M., Kubzansky, L. D., Chen, E., Mroczek, D. K., Wang, J. M., & Spiro, A. (2015). Do cherished children age successfully? Longitudinal findings from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. Psychology and aging, 30(4), 894.

Year: 
2015
Status: 
complete
Abstract: 

Although early adversity has been linked to worse mental and physical health in adulthood, few studies have investigated the pathways through which positive and negative dimensions of early experiences can jointly influence psychological well-being in later life. This study examined: (a) profiles of early experiences across multiple domains, (b) the relations of these profiles to hedonic and eudaimonic well-being in later life, and (c) whether midlife social support mediated these relations. We first conducted latent class analysis of early experiences using data from 1,076 men in the VA Normative Aging Study who completed the Childhood Experiences Scale (age: M = 69, SD = 7). Analyses yielded 3 profiles of early experiences, labeled as cherished (strong support and some losses), harshly disciplined (harsh parental discipline, low positive reinforcement, and nonnormative stressors), and ordinary (few stressors and low parental attention). Next, we applied structural equation modeling to data on a subset of this sample assessed 7 years later on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being (n = 496; age: M = 76, SD = 7). In general, the cherishedgroup reported stronger qualitative social support in midlife than the harshly disciplined and ordinary groups, which in turn was related to greater hedonic (life satisfaction, positive affect) and eudaimonic (competence, positive relations with others) well-being in later life. The cherished group also reported higher autonomy than the ordinary group, but this association was independent of midlife social support. Our findings suggest that experiencing adversity in the context of a nurturing early environment can promote successful aging through the maintenance of supportive relationships in midlife. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Variables: 

Leszko et al., 2016. Future directions in the study of personality in adulthood and older age

Leszko, M., Elleman, L. G., Bastarache, E. D., Graham, E. K., & Mroczek, D. K. (2016). Future directions in the study of personality in adulthood and older age. Gerontology, 62(2), 210-215.

Year: 
2016
Status: 
complete
Abstract: 

Over the past 20 years, empirical evidence has brought about a change in the view on how, or even whether, personality traits change or develop in adulthood and later life. Now we know personality can and does change for many people, if not most. Changes in personality may occur due to biological or environmental factors. This paper presents key empirical findings on personality change in adulthood and provides evidence that personality change affects mental and physical health. Our goal is to provide a broad overview on personality change research that would be an invaluable resource for students and researchers. We organize this paper into 3 sections. The first is focused on techniques in analyzing personality change in adulthood and later life. The second is focused on personality change as an outcome; we explore what factors predict personality change. The third discusses a relatively novel idea: personality change as a predictor of mental and physical health. We conclude that more research on factors predicting personality change is needed and we provide suggestions on how research on personality change can progress.

 

Mroczek, D. K., 2014. Personality plasticity, healthy aging, and interventions.

Mroczek, D.K. (2014). Personality plasticity, healthy aging, and interventions. Developmental Psychology, 50(5), 1470-1474.

Year: 
2014
Status: 
complete
Abstract: 

This commentary on the special section on conscientiousness and healthy aging focuses on several topics brought up in this collection of articles. One is the promise of personality interventions. Despite skepticism on the part of some, such interventions may ultimately prove successful. This is in part because of similarities between personality dimensions and cognitive dimensions and in part due to evidence showing personality is more dynamic and plastic than once believed. The commentary concludes with a discussion of the role of longitudinal investigations to inform interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Piccinin et al., 2011. An evaluation of analytical approaches for understanding change in cognition in the context of aging and health

Piccinin, A.M., Muniz, G., Sparks, C., & Bontempo, D.E. (2011). An evaluation of analytical approaches for understanding change in cognition in the context of aging and health.  Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 66 (S1), i36-i49.

Year: 
2011
Status: 
complete
Abstract: 

Objectives. In this article, we discuss the importance of studying the relationship between health and cognitive function, and some of the methods with which this relationship has been studied.

Methods. We consider the challenges involved, in particular operationalization of the health construct and causal inference in the context of observational data. We contrast the approaches taken, and review the questions addressed: whether health and cognition are associated, whether changes in health are associated with changes in cognition, and the degree of interdependency among their respective trajectories.

Results. A variety of approaches for understanding the association between cognition and health in aging individuals have been used. Much of the literature on cognitive change and health has relied on methods that are based at least in part on the reorganization of between-person differences (e.g., cross-lag analysis) rather than relying more fully on analysis of within-person change and joint analysis of individual differences in within-person change in cognition and health.

Discussion. We make the case for focusing on the interdependency between within-person changes in health and cognition and suggest methods that would support this.

Shafonsky et al., 2013. Continuous prospective assessment of health and well-being in aging Canadians using novel electronic portal methodologies

Year: 
2013
Status: 
complete
Presentation Citations: 

Shafonsky, E., Hofer, S. M., Hayashi, A., Votova, K., Hall, C., Piccinin, A. M., Weber, J., & Kelly, A. (September, 2013). Continuous prospective assessment of health and well-being in aging Canadians using novel electronic portal methodologies. Paper presented at UBC Family Medicine Research Conference, Vancouver, BC

Abstract: 
Objective: To report on the development and implementation of novel web-based patient portal methodologies that provide opportunities for prospective measurement of health and well-being.
Variables: 

Sparks et al., 2011 The impact of health on change in cognitive functioning

Year: 
2011
Status: 
complete
Presentation Citations: 

Sparks, C., Piccinin, A. M., Johansson, B., & Hofer, S.M. (November, 2011). The impact of health on change in cognitive functioning. In S. M. Hofer & D. Kuh (Chairs), The life course determinants of physical, cognitive, and emotional functioning. Symposium conducted at the 64th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Boston, MA.

Abstract: 

The objectives of this symposium were to evaluate aging-related cognitive change in the context of change in health, and to compare and synthesize patterns of results across multiple longitudinal studies of aging.

Graham et al., 2015. Personality & Earnings Lost: The Economic Costs of Work Cut Back Days Due to Physical and Mental Health

Graham, E. K., Mroczek, D. K., & Elleman, L. G. (2015). Personality & earnings lost: The economic costs of work cut back days due to physical and mental health. International journal of personality psychology, 1(1), 1.

Year: 
2015
Status: 
complete
Abstract: 

Personality traits have emerged as significant contributors to physical and mental health, as well as various economic outcomes including income. Few studies have explored whether personality is related to the frequency of days lost on the job due to physical or mental health issues, and the subsequent economic losses as a result. The current study bridged the health, economic, and personality variables to determine whether personality was associated with earnings lost due to work cut back days from poor physical or mental health. We found, both concurrently and over a 10 year follow up, that high neuroticism and low openness were associated with more earnings lost due to mental health, while low extraversion was associated with more earnings lost due to physical health. These findings are interpreted in light of the effects that personality may have on an individual’s career and financial outcomes, and the economic effects of untreated physical and mental health problems.