The influence of personality on memory self-report among black and white older adults

Nikki L. Hill, Jacqueline Mogle, Sakshi Bhargava, Tyler Reed Bell, Rachel K. Wion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Self-reported memory problems are often the first indicator of cognitive decline; however, they are inconsistently associated with objective memory performance and are known to be influenced by individual factors, such as personality. The current study examined the relationships between personality traits and self-reported memory problems in cognitively intact older adults, and whether these associations differ across Black and White older adults. Data were collected annually via in-person comprehensive medical and neuropsychological examinations as part of the Einstein Aging Study. Community-dwelling older adults in an urban, multi-ethnic area of New York City were interviewed. The current study included a total of 425 older adults (Mage = 76.68, SD = 4.72, 62.59% female; 72.00% White). Multilevel modeling tested the associations of neuroticism, conscientiousness, extraversion, openness, and agreeableness with self-reported memory problems. Results showed that neuroticism was positively related to frequency of memory problems and perceived ten-year memory decline only when other personality traits were not accounted for. Extraversion was negatively related to frequency of memory problems and perceived ten-year decline for both White and Black participants. However, conscientiousness was negatively related to perceived ten-year decline for Black participants only. Our findings highlight the importance of examining the association of all five personality traits with self-reported memory problems, as well as examining whether these associations differ for participants from different race/ ethnicities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0219712
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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