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. That was confirmed for three
services—probability of any emergency department (ED) use, likelihood
of any custodial nursing home use, and more skilled nursing facility
(SNF) days for SNF users.
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.
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.