Personality determinants of subjective executive function in older adults

Tyler Bell, Nikki Hill, Despina Stavrinos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives: Problems in subjective executive function, the perceived cognitive control of mental processes for goal-directed behavior, may indicate cognitive impairment in older adulthood. Although, previous studies highlight the importance of personality on objective cognitive performance, no studies clarify their role with subjective executive function. To inform methods of early identification of cognitive impairment, this study explored how temperament and personality traits account for problems in subjective executive function. Method: The current project examined the associations between temperament and personality on subjective executive function across two samples of community-dwelling older adults (65+ years, n1 = 25, n2 = 50). Both studies measured subjective executive function (Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Adult) and separately administered scales on temperament (Adult Temperament Questionnaire) and personality (Big Five Inventory). Results: Concerning temperament, older adults higher in negative affect endorsed greater difficulty in subjective executive function. Regarding personality traits, older adults with higher neuroticism and lower conscientiousness reported higher difficulty in subjective executive function. Conclusion: Findings enhance our understanding of subtle cognitive changes and may aid in early detection. In particular, distressful inclinations were associated with more reported problems in executive function whereas problem-solving tendencies were inversely related. Future work should examine if enhanced negativity coupled with analytical disengagement predicts problems in subjective executive function over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1935-1944
Number of pages10
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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