University of Limerick
OSuilleabhain_2021_Pathways.pdf (792.95 kB)

Pathways from early life SES to dementia risk in old age: the role of personality

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posted on 2022-10-14, 11:30 authored by Amanda A. Sesker, Páraic Ó SúilleabháinPáraic Ó Súilleabháin, Ji Hyun Lee, Damaris Aschwanden, Martina Luchetti, Yannick Stephan, Antonio Terracciano, Angelina R. Sutin
Objective This study investigates the association between childhood socioeconomic status (cSES) and risk of cognitive impairment in older adulthood, and whether Five Factor Model personality traits mediated this association. Methods A sample of 9,995 participants (mean age = 67.01 years) from the Health and Retirement Study were followed every two years from 2006 to 2018. cSES was tested as a predictor of risk of dementia and risk of cognitive impairment not dementia (CIND). Personality was tested as a mediator of these associations. Models were adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity, race, education, and baseline year. Results Although effect sizes were modest, results indicated that lower cSES was associated with higher risk of dementia (HR=0.88, [0.775, 0.985]). Higher cSES was also associated with higher Conscientiousness and lower Neuroticism. Conscientiousness and Neuroticism each accounted for 7.9% of the total effect of cSES on dementia. Results were similar for CIND. Conclusions Early childhood socioeconomic factors may contribute to cognitive impairment in older adulthood, an association mediated, in part, through adult personality traits.



Journals of Gerontology, Series B;


Oxford University Press


peer-reviewed The full text of this article will not be available in ULIR until the embargo expires on the 30/08/2022

Other Funding information

National Institute on Aging, National Institute on Aging


This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in The Journals of Gerontology: Series B following peer review. The version of record is available online at that the author will receive upon publication here].



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  • Psychology

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