Evaluations of a Previous Day as a Pathway Between Personality and Healthy Cognitive Aging
Objective: To examine the association between Five-Factor Model personality traits and how individuals evaluate a recent day in their lives (yesterday) and whether these evaluations mediate personality and cognitive function over time. Methods: Participants were a subsample from the Health and Retirement Study who completed personality measures in 2008/2010, the day evaluation in 2011, and cognitive tasks in 2012 (N = 3,454). Results: Lower Neuroticism and Higher Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness were associated with a more engaging day, fewer negative feelings, better subjective health, and less time spent alone. Active engagement and subjective health were associated with cognitive function and mediated the prospective associations between Neuroticism, Openness, and Conscientiousness and cognitive function. Discussion: Personality is associated with how individuals evaluated their previous day, which contributes to cognition over time. The present research contributes to a mechanistic model that aims to identify pathways through which personality contributes to cognitive aging.