Personality's association with IADLs in community dwelling older adults

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry








executive functioning; functional ability; older adults; openness; personality


Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Objectives Extant research has established several predictors of functional ability (FA) in older adults (OAs); however, one factor that has been relatively ignored is personality. Preliminary evidence suggests that openness and agreeableness are associated with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). However, how personality is related to IADLs remains unclear. We aimed to determine how personality factors predict performance of IADLs, which we hypothesized, was because of executive functioning (EF). Methods To best understand the relationship between personality and IADLs, we recruited and ran 65 independent community dwelling OAs. Bivariate correlations and hierarchical regressions were completed to determine the associations between openness and agreeableness with IADLs. Lastly, mediation analyses were completed to examine our hypothesis that EF would mediate this relationship Results Correlation and regression findings support the relationship between openness and IADLs but not agreeableness and IADLs. As hypothesized, the relationship between openness and IADLs was mediated by EF. Conclusions We replicated the relationship between openness and IADLs and extend the literature by showing the mechanism of action for this relationship is EF. While our mediation results support this perspective, future research should determine if interventions that increase OAs' EF, in turn, increase or attenuate decline in IADLs over time.

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