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Reimagining Research on Personality, Stress and Cognition in Depressed Older Adults: Reflections on Steffens et al.

  • Paul R. Duberstein
    Correspondence
    Send correspondence and reprint requests to Paul R. Duberstein, Ph.D., Department of Health Behavior, Society and Policy, Rutgers School of Public Health, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, 683 Hoes Lane, West Piscataway, NJ 08854.
    Affiliations
    Department of Health Behavior (PRD, EK), Society, and Policy, Rutgers School of Public Health, West Piscataway, NJ
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  • Elissa Kozlov
    Affiliations
    Department of Health Behavior (PRD, EK), Society, and Policy, Rutgers School of Public Health, West Piscataway, NJ
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Published:November 19, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2022.11.007
      Steffens et al.
      • Steffens DC
      • Manning KJ
      • Wu R
      • et al.
      Effects of longitudinal changes in neuroticism and stress on cognitive decline.
      add to the growing literature on the contributions of stressors and personality to cognitive impairment in older adults. For more than a decade, prospective studies have examined self-reported personality
      • Duberstein PR
      • Chapman BP
      • Tindle HA
      • et al.
      Personality and risk for Alzheimer's disease in adults 72 years of age and older: a 6-year follow-up.
      and stress
      • Johansson L
      • Guo X
      • Waern M
      • et al.
      Midlife psychological stress and risk of dementia: a 35-year longitudinal population study.
      as predictors of cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia. For more than 3 decades, retrospective studies have repeatedly documented informant-reported personality change in cognitive decline. The article by Steffens et al. might be one of the first, if not the first, to explore the implications of both change in trait Neuroticism (the tendency to experience negative emotions) and change in self-reported stressors for cognitive outcomes.
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      References

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        • Manning KJ
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        Effects of longitudinal changes in neuroticism and stress on cognitive decline.
        Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2022; (in press.)
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      Linked Article

      • Effects of Longitudinal Changes in Neuroticism and Stress on Cognitive Decline
        The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
        • Preview
          The links between late-life depression (LLD), the personality trait of neuroticism, presence of stress and cognitive decline are complex, though some research undertaken in the last two decades has shed light on this area. LLD is associated with later cognitive decline and development of dementia, and presence of neuroticism in older depressed patients has been shown to increase risk of cognitive decline and dementia.1,2 Similarly, greater number of stressful life events has also been associated with greater cognitive decline.
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