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The purpose of the current study was to investigate whether premorbid personality traits (i.e., neuroticism, extroversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness) can predict behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). In particular, agitation-related behaviors were examined. The current study used convenience sampling from 14 residential care facilities in Melbourne, Australia. Demographic and health data, cognitive ability, BPSD, and premorbid personality characteristics were collected from 62 female and 27 male older adults. Close informants of participants were asked to provide premorbid personality data (i.e., before the development of dementia) using the NEO-Five-Factor Inventory. Residential care staff used the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory to rate agitation-related behaviors over a 2-week period. Correlational analyses revealed associations between premorbid agreeableness and verbally nonaggressive behaviors, and between premorbid conscientiousness and verbally nonaggressive behaviors. Although the findings provide some support that premorbid personality shapes problematic behaviors exhibited in dementia, they are inconsistent with previous research and the hypotheses were generally not supported.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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Journal Article

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