, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 199-208
Date: 21 Apr 2009

Engaged Lifestyle, Personality, and Mental Status Among Centenarians

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Abstract

This study assessed engaged lifestyle activities (e.g., volunteering, traveling, and public speaking) for centenarians of the Georgia Centenarian Study. A total of 285 centenarians and near-centenarians (i.e., 98 years and older) and their proxy informants participated in this study. The Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) was assessed for all centenarians, and proxy informants reported on lifestyle activities and personality traits of the centenarians. Results suggested that participants who had volunteered, traveled, and those who had given public talks and balanced their checkbooks were more likely to show relatively high mental status scores (i.e., MMSE > 17). Personality traits were found to be moderators in the relationship between engaged lifestyle and mental status: Participants with high levels of Emotional Stability, Extraversion, Openness, and Conscientiousness and with high levels of engaged lifestyle were more likely to show relatively high mental status scores (i.e., MMSE > 17), whereas participants with low levels of Emotional Stability, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness and with low levels of engaged lifestyle were more likely to show relatively low mental status scores (i.e., MMSE < 18). The results suggest that engaged lifestyle, particularly in combination with personality traits, plays an important role in the level of cognitive functioning among oldest old adults.

"This study is conducted for the Georgia Centenarian Study."
Additional authors for the "Georgia Centenarian Study" include S. M. Jazwinski, R. C. Green, M. Gearing, W. R. Markesbery, J. L. Woodard, M. A. Johnson, J. S. Tenover, W. L. Rodgers, D. B. Hausman, C. Rott, A. Davey, and J. Arnold.