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Title: Gender, Personality, and Cognitive Resilience Against Early-Life Disadvantage
Abstract Objectives

Early-life disadvantage (ELD) relates to lower late-life cognition. However, personality factors, including having an internal locus of control (LOC) or a conscientious personality, relate to resilience and effective stress coping. We explore whether personality factors convey resilience against the negative effects of ELD on cognition, by gender, in Mexico.


Using the 2015 Mexican Health and Aging Study, we estimated expected cognition using multiple ELD markers to identify a subsample in the lowest quartile of expected cognition given ELD (n = 2,086). In this subsample, we estimated cross-sectional associations between personality and having above-median observed cognitive ability (n = 522) using logistic regression.


Among those in the lowest quartile of expected cognition, a more internal LOC (β = 0.32 [men] and β = 0.44 [women]) and conscientious personality (β = 0.39 [men] and β = 0.17 [women]) were significantly associated with having above-median cognitive ability in models adjusted for demographic confounders. Larger benefits of conscientiousness were observed for men than women. Associations between personality and having above-median cognitive ability remained statistically significant after further adjustment for health, stress, and cognitive stimulation variables, regardless of gender.


Personality factors may convey resilience among individuals who experienced ELD, potentially breaking the link between ELD and worse late-life cognition. Structural factors and gender roles may affect more » how much women benefit from personality factors.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Journals of Gerontology: Series B
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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