The Prospective Association of Personality Traits and Successful Aging

Allison R. Heid, Rachel Pruchno, Maureen Wilson-Genderson, Francine P. Cartwright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We used data (N = 928) from ORANJ BOWL, a six-wave panel of adults (aged 50–74 at baseline) to address the association between personality and successful aging at two points in time, 8 years apart. Regressions examined the associations between Wave 2 neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness and Wave 3 subjective success, functional ability, pain, and chronic conditions. Models tested personality traits independently and then simultaneously, with interactions. Confirmatory analyses used Waves 5/6 data. All traits but openness were individually associated with successful aging at both time points. When testing traits simultaneously, only neuroticism and extraversion were consistently associated with subjective success, with an interaction at Waves 2/3. Neuroticism (Waves 2/3) and conscientiousness (Waves 5/6) were associated with functional ability. Neuroticism was associated with pain (Waves 2/3). Personality was not associated with chronic conditions. These analyses set up future work examining relationships between change in personality and change in successful aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-214
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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