Care recipient agreeableness is associated with caregiver subjective physical health status

Catherine Riffin, Corinna E. Löckenhoff, Karl Pillemer, Bruce Friedman, Paul T. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives. The emotional and physical health consequences of caring for a family member are well documented. However, although personality has been shown to affect dyadic interactions and been linked with individual outcomes for both care recipients (CRs) and caregivers (CGs), the influence of CR personality on CG health remains unexplored. Method. This study investigated cross-sectional associations between CRs' five-factor personality traits and CGs' physical and emotional health in 312 dyads of older adults with disability and their informal CGs who participated in the Medicare Primary and Consumer-Directed Care Demonstration. Results. Regression models controlling for CG personality, strain, and sociodemographic characteristics and CR physical impairment and pain found that agreeableness in CRs was associated with better physical health among CGs. Facet-level analyses showed specific associations between the trust and compliance facets of CR agreeableness and CG physical health. Investigation of CR personality styles revealed that the "easygoing" (N-, A+) and "well-intentioned" (A+, C-) styles predicted better CG physical health; the "leaders" (E+, A-) style had the opposite effect. No significant associations were found between CR personality and CG mental health. Discussion. Results from this study reveal the value of considering CR personality in relation to CG health and highlight the importance of assessing dispositional qualities within the context of care provision and informal assistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)927-930
Number of pages4
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Caregiving
  • Chronic illness
  • Five-factor model personality traits
  • Subjective health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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