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Some personality types are more likely to receive nursing home care, researchers find

Seniors who fit a particular personality profile are more
than twice as likely to receive long-term care in a nursing home, according to
newly published research in The Milbank Quartly.

Researchers from various institutions, including the
University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Public Health Sciences and
the University of Chicago, examined data from 1,000 seniors participating in a
Medicare demonstration project. Based on a self-report questionnaire, these
seniors were classified under five personality traits: neuroticism,
extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness.
These are traits commonly used as a conceptual framework by psychologists.

Based on participants' healthcare use over a two-year
period, the researchers determined that those scoring high for neuroticism were
more than twice as likely to spend time in a nursing home. These are seniors
who are more likely to feel angry, anxious, depressed or vulnerable, according
to the researchers.

A higher “openness to experience” score indicated a greater
likelihood of home care use, according to researchers.

The findings support the idea that interventions tailored to
different types of people could reduce the use of unnecessary high-cost care,
the researchers stated.

Funds from the National Institute on Aging and the Centers
for Medicare & Medicaid Services supported the research.

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