Longitudinal Associations among Personality, Perceived Control, and Health for American and Japanese Aging Adults
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Longitudinal Associations among Personality, Perceived Control, and Health for American and Japanese Aging Adults (812.9Kb)
Perceived control is associated with health throughout adulthood, yet has also been found to decline with age possibly due to age-related experiences of increasing losses and limitations in life circumstances. Perceived control may also be affected by individual personality characteristics, which also predict health through late adulthood. Although previous studies have addressed these associations, research is lacking in examining nuanced associations among personality, perceived control, and health all together as well as age and gender differences in these associations. Moreover, perceived control may be related to individualistic values (e.g., autonomy, agency) that vary cross-culturally and the implications of perceived control as well as personality for health may differ in distinct cultures. However, cross-cultural research on longitudinal associations of personality, perceived control, and health is further limited. In order to address the gap in the literature, the present dissertation, consisting of three studies, focuses on investigating longitudinal associations among personality, perceived control, and health for American and Japanese middle-aged and older adults. The first two studies address longitudinal associations between personality and perceived control (Study 1) and the potential mediation of perceived control for longitudinal associations between personality and health (Study 2) for 4,611 American adults (aged 40 to 75 at baseline). Study 3 examines associations among personality, perceived control, and health for 827 Japanese adults (aged 40 to 79 at baseline) in contrast to Americans. The findings suggest that neuroticism and conscientiousness are consistent predictors for perceived control over time and that perceived control mediates longitudinal associations of neuroticism and conscientiousness with functional health for American adults. Such mediation was not found for Japanese adults despite overall similar tendencies except for associations between personality and perceived control. No age differences in associations among personality, perceived control, and health were found for both nationalities (who were in their 40s to 70s at baseline) while there were some gender differences in a limited few associations for Americans. The dissertation contributes to the literature by furthering the understanding of longitudinal associations of personality, perceived control, and health and indicating future directions for research including exploring potential avenues to promoting health through perceived control.