Yoneda et al., 2018. Increases in Neuroticism May Be an Early Indicator of Dementia


Objectives: Although personality change is typically considered a symptom of dementia, some studies suggest that personality change may be an early indication of dementia. One prospective study found increases in neuroticism preceding dementia diagnosis. This study extends this research by examining trajectories of personality traits in additional longitudinal studies of aging.

Methods: Three independent series of latent growth curve models were fitted to data from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam and Einstein Aging Study to estimate trajectories of personality traits in individuals with incident dementia diagnosis (total N = 210), in individuals with incident Mild Cognitive Impairment (N = 135), and in individuals who did not receive a diagnosis during follow-up periods (total N = 1740).

Results: Controlling for sex, age, education, depressive symptoms, and the interaction between age and education, growth curve analyses consistently revealed significant linear increases in neuroticism preceding dementia diagnosis in both datasets and in individuals with mild cognitive impairment. Analyses examining individuals without a diagnosis revealed nonsignificant change in neuroticism overtime.

Discussion: Replication of our previous work in 2 additional datasets provides compelling evidence that increases in neuroticism may be early indication of dementia, which can facilitate development of screening assessments.