Personality traits and cognitive function in old-adults with type-2 diabetes

Galit Weinstein, Roni Elran Barak, Michal Schnaider Beeri, Ramit Ravona-Springer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Personality may constitute an important domain of influence on cognitive function in old-adults. We assessed the relationship of personality traits and cognitive performance in individuals with Type-2 Diabetes (T2D), and explored possible mediators. Method: The sample includes 377 dementia-free subjects with T2D participating in the Israel Diabetes and Cognitive Decline study who underwent assessment of cognition and personality (mean age 72 ± 4y; 42% females). We assessed the relationships of personality traits with episodic memory, semantic categorization, attention/working memory, executive function and overall cognition using linear regression models adjusting for age, education, sex, BMI, T2D duration, Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C), hypertension, c-reactive protein, total- to HDL-cholesterol ratio and ApoEɛ4 genotype. A post-hoc mediation analysis was conducted with HbA1C, proportion of days covered (PDC) by T2D prescription claims and depressive symptoms. Results: After adjustment for multiple covariates, high neuroticism levels were associated with poorer performance overall (β= −0.16 ± 0.05; p = 0.001) and with poorer episodic memory, attention/working memory, and semantic categorization (β= −0.14 ± 0.05; p = 0.007, β= −0.12 ± 0.05; p = 0.017 and β= −0.12 ± 0.05; p = 0.018, respectively). High scores on openness to experience were associated with better global cognition (β = 0.11 ± 0.05; p = 0.026), executive functions (β = 0.13 ± 0.05; p = 0.013) and semantic categorization (β = 0.17 ± 0.05; p = 0.001, respectively). Depressive symptoms mediated the association of neuroticism with executive function, and the association of openness with executive function and overall cognition. Conclusion: Personality may play an important role in cognitive health among elderly subjects with T2D. Future studies should address the mechanisms underlying these relationships and specifically the potential role of depressive symptoms which may be in the causal pathway between personality traits and cognitive outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1317-1325
Number of pages9
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Personality
  • big-five
  • cognitive function
  • type-2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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