Trajectories and personality correlates of change in perceptions of physical and mental health across adulthood and old age

Jennifer Morack, Frank Infurna, Nilam Ram, Denis Gerstorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Subjective health is known to predict later outcomes, including survival. However, less is known about subjective health changes across adulthood, how personality moderates those changes, and whether such associations differ with age. We applied growth models to 10 waves of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (HILDA, N = 7,172; median ages 20-93) to examine age-related differences in trajectories of subjective physical and mental health. On average, perceptions of physical health declined with increasing steepness in old age, whereas self-rated mental health remained relatively stable across all ages. Higher neuroticism and lower extraversion and conscientiousness were each related to less successful aging. The health implications of personality did not differ by age for physical health, but were weaker for mental health in old age. We discuss implications of our results for accelerated longitudinal designs and consider avenues for future more mechanism-oriented research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-484
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • adulthood and old age
  • growth curve model
  • longitudinal
  • self-rated health
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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