-Daniel K. Mroczek, Ph.D.
Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
Personality traits capture individual differences in human emotional, motivational and behavioral functioning. The concept of individual differences is critical to any formulation of personalized aging or personalized medicine. Personalized medicine and aging take information about the individual to tailoring health care or optimize the aging process. Thus, both assume that individual differences are crucial when delivering health care or trying to optimize aging. One of the most important classes of individual differences variables are personality traits and their role in personalized aging can be potentially quite valuable. In recent work by Mroczek and Spiro (2007; see also Mroczek, Spiro & Turiano, 2009), we have demonstrated that personality traits as well as personality trait trajectories play a key role in predicting physical health and mortality in midlife and older adulthood. Specifically, neuroticism level and neuroticism change interacted in their prediction of mortality. Neuroticism intercepts and slopes were derived from multilevel modeling (Mroczek & Spiro, 2003), and then utilized as independent predictors of long-term mortality. Individual differences in intercept and in slope predicted all-cause mortality, but the two parameters also interacted. Those that had high neuroticism intercepts (indicating high neuroticism level) and increasing neuroticism slopes had the highest mortality risk, compared to those that either had low intercepts or decreasing slopes. If the goal of personalized aging is to use information about the person to optimize aging, then personality trait levels – as well as corresponding personality trait change trajectories -- need to be taken into account.
University of Helsinki, Finland
In the context of 4 C life-model of motivation (Salmela-Aro, 2009, 2011), life-span and related transitions channel people’s personal goals, and as time and resources are limited people choose their personal goals in which to commit, they self-and co-regulate their goals with others and finally, compensate and adjust their goals. I will present recent findings in the context of these 4C processes of channeling, choice, co-regulation and compensation in the context of personal goals by using three data sets, one with elderly female 150 twin pairs, one during the transition to retirement among 120 employed and one randomized intervention among 700 employees,. The results among elderly female twins showed that their personal goals reflect the key developmental tasks of aging in terms of health and functioning, close relationships, hobbies and self-related issues. They were committed to their health related goals and appraised them as highly important. They co-regulated their health goals most often with their spouse, child and twin sister. Social goals were negatively related to depressive symptoms and the association was mediated by neuroticism. In terms of retirement study, those recently retired produced personal goals most often related to hobbies, social relationships, health, housing, and self. These results showed that the preceding occupational health seems to channel personal goal pursuit in retirement. Thus sustaining employees occupational health in not essential only for developing employees ability to cope with work demands but also their functional capacity in their later life stages in retirement. Finally, the results of the intervention study showed that it increased work- and well-being related goals and the career preparedness in terms of self-efficacy and inoculation for possible setbacks, which in turn predicted intrinsic work-goal motivation and engagement at the follow-up.