Traits and Treadmills: Association Between Personality and Perceived Fatigability in Well-Functioning Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Physical fatigability, or susceptibility to physical fatigue, is strongly associated with aging, disease, and disability. Over the lifecourse, personality traits are also connected to numerous age-related vulnerabilities and resistance—yet, their longitudinal association with fatigability remains unknown. Well-functioning community-dwelling volunteers aged ≥50 (N = 995) from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) were assessed over an average of 2 years on personality traits (NEO-PI-R; openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) and perceived fatigability [Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) after a 5-min slow treadmill walk; 6 (low) to 20 (high) exertion]. Linear and multinomial logistic regression models examined cross-sectional associations [treating fatigability continuously and by RPE category: low (6–7), intermediate (8–9), and high (10+)]. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) tested longitudinal associations. All models were adjusted for demographics and comorbid conditions. In cross-sectional models, openness, β = −.09 RPE (SE =.03); p <.01, conscientiousness, β = −.07 (.03); p <.05, and extraversion, β = −.10 (.03); p <.01, were negatively associated with fatigability. In parallel, lower openness, OR:.98, 95% CI [.96–1.00], conscientiousness, OR:.98, 95% CI [.96–1.00], and extraversion, OR:.97, 95% CI [.95–.99], corresponded with higher odds of having high versus low fatigability. In longitudinal models (mean follow-up time 2 ± 2 years), openness, conscientiousness, and extraversion associations remained significant and did not change over time (Trait × Year p values >.34). Together, findings suggest that personality plays a role in the perceived tolerance of fatigue in wellfunctioning older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)710-717
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology and aging
Volume36
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Baltimore longitudinal study of aging
  • Big 5
  • Fatigue
  • Individual differences
  • Vitality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Traits and Treadmills: Association Between Personality and Perceived Fatigability in Well-Functioning Community-Dwelling Older Adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this