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Ayotte BJ, Potter GG, Williams HT, Steffens DC, Bosworth HB. The moderating role of personality factors in the relationship between depression and neuropsychological functioning among older adults. International journal of geriatric psychiatry. 2009 Sep 1; 24(9):1010-9.
OBJECTIVE: Depression is often associated with decreased cognitive performance among older adults. The current study focused on the association of neuropsychological functioning and personality traits in depressed and non-depressed older adults. METHODS: Data from 75 depressed and 103 non-depressed adults over the age of 60 were analyzed. All participants underwent standardized clinical assessment for depression prior to participation and completed the NEO-PI-R and a series of neuropsychological assessments. RESULTS: A series of multiple linear regressions were conducted to examine the relationships between personality and neuropsychological performance among depressed and non-depressed older adults. Results indicated that higher Openness to Experience was related to better performance on Parts A and B of the Trail Making Test among depressed older adults, and to better Digit Span Backward performance among all participants. Higher levels of neuroticism were related to poorer performance on Digit Span Backward, but only among depressed older adults. Depressed participants performed more poorly on the Symbol Digit Modalities Test and the Controlled Oral Word Association Test. CONCLUSIONS: Personality characteristics, particularly Openness to Experience, modified the relationship between depression and neuropsychological functioning among older adults. Results indicate that interventions aimed at increasing one''s Openness to Experience could potentially attenuate some of the neuropsychological impairments that are associated with depression.