Neurotic – A Nursing Home May Be in Your Future

Researchers from various institutions, including the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Public Health Sciences and the University of Chicago collected data from 1,074 community-dwelling seniors participating in a Medicare demonstration to see if there was a correlation between personality types and the likelihood of certain healthcare outcomes.

They completed a self-report questionnaire measuring the “Big Five” personality traits: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. During the next two years, the participants maintained daily journals of their use of health care services.

Their hypothesis was that higher Neuroticism would be associated with greater health care use. ThatåÊ was confirmed for three services‰ÛÓprobability of any emergency department (ED) use, likelihood of any custodial nursing home use, and more skilled nursing facility (SNF) days for SNF users.åÊ

Higher Openness to Experience was associated with a greater likelihood of home care use, and higher Agreeableness and lower Conscientiousness with a higher probability of custodial nursing home use.åÊ

Researchers concluded that personality traits are associated with Medicare beneficiaries’ use of many expensive health care services, findings that have implications for health services research and policy. Accordingly, profound advances in personality psychology should be considered as useful interventions.

I for one am for “higher openess to experience.”