Alzheimer’s disease is more common in women, with women over the age of 65 having a 1 in 6 chance of developing it, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. In a new study, researchers have found that certain personality traits, such as anxiety, jealousy, and moodiness, may increase a woman’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Study researcher Lena Johannsson, PhD, of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, points out that previous research has looked at how blood problems, genetics, and education influence the risk, but there is very little research done on how certain personality traits may influence the risk. To study this risk, Johannsson and colleagues examined the associations between personality and Alzheimer’s through a study involving 800 women of an average age of 46.
Throughout the 38- year study period, researchers had participant’s complete personality tests that assessed their levels of neuroticism, extraversion, and introversion, along with disclosing stress levels associated with family, work or health that lasted for 1 month or more.
During the 38 years, 19 percent of the women developed dementia. Researchers found that women who had the highest scores on neuroticism tests, characterized by anxiety, moodiness and jealousy, were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s. This association was also found to be stronger among participants who had experienced long periods of stress. In addition, women who scored high on both neuroticism and introversion were at a highest risk of Alzheimer’s.