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The effect of ageing on personality 

The effect of ageing on personality
The effect of ageing on personality

Bob Woods

and Gill Windle

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date: 31 July 2021

Ageing and personality interact. Whilst experiences that may be associated with age, including changes in roles and social networks, losses and health challenges, may require adaptation of aspects of personality, personality across the life-span fundamentally influences how ageing is experienced. There are indications that extraversion, conscientiousness and openness show reduced levels in later life, but people’s rank order on personality traits remains stable. Development continues into later life, but builds on earlier experiences and ways of coping. Personality resources such as self-esteem, perceived control, self-efficacy and resilience shape the person’s response to adversity in later life, enabling older people to maintain high levels of well-being, despite the challenges. Dementia, the ultimate challenge, is accompanied by personality change, with raised neuroticism and lowered conscientiousness both predicting its onset and accompanying its course. Pre-morbid personality does also appear to have some influence on behavioural problems experienced.

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