Personality and health in middle age as predictors for well-being and health in old age
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In research literature, the question to what extent specific personality traits and health functioning in midlife can predict physical and psychological well-being in old age is still discussed controversially. The present study aims to shed light on this issue by using data from the Basel Longitudinal Study on Ageing. Structural equation modelling was performed in order to test the relation between personality dimensions, namely, self-preoccupation and emotional reactivity, as well as cardiovascular functioning (blood pressure) and medication intake (tranquilizer use) in middle age on psychological and physical well-being and health as assessed in old age 24 years later. Results show that high levels of self-preoccupation in middle age are negatively related to psychological and physical well-being in old age, but not to medical diagnoses. In addition, blood pressure and tranquilizer use in middle age predict physical well-being in old age; blood pressure is furthermore related to medical diagnoses. Our findings emphasize the importance for the adoption of a life-span approach and further interdisciplinary prospective studies in order to better predict pathways to well-being and health in old age.