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Personality traits linked to risk of dementia

Dec. 8, 2023 - 14:15 By Amber Anne Roos

Whether you have a pessimistic or optimistic attitude in life might affect your risk of dementia, new research shows.

In a study published by the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, researchers at the University of California, Davis investigated the link between personality traits and the prevalence of Alzheimer’s diagnoses based on 44,531 participants.

Results of the study suggest that specific personality traits such as sociability, goal-oriented behavior and positive emotional expression have a positive effect on preventing dementia. On the other hand, negative characteristics including anger, anxiety and depression were shown to be linked to an increased probability of dementia diagnosis.

As of 2018, data from the National Health Insurance Service revealed that the prevalence of dementia in South Korea among seniors aged 65 or above was 10 percent, with projections suggesting a steady increase in these numbers over the coming years.

The study not only provides valuable insights into the interplay between personality and dementia risk, but also advocates for proactive measures to address mental well-being. By recognizing the influence of individual attitudes and emotions on cognitive health, the research opens avenues for early intervention and personalized strategies that could contribute to a healthier aging process.

"Hopefully, it could be kind of a wake-up call that if you've been dealing with chronic stress or something like that, maybe it is time to start considering something like psychotherapy," Emorie Beck, UC Davis psychology professor and first author of the paper said. "The earlier in life that we can do some of these kind of behavioral interventions, the better.”