Extraversion and its impact on physical functionality in old age: Epidemiologic evidence and potential pathways

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Extraversion, one of the fundamental dimensions of personality, has long been linked to health. In general community samples of older adults, higher levels of extraversion appear to confer benefits in terms of subjective and objective health including greater self-reported health, quality of life, and longevity. Some of these beneficial effects may be explained by an impact of extraversion on physical functionality. This review paper discusses the extent to which extraversion may help build functional capacity and protect against functional decline and development of limitations and disability by providing epidemiologic evidence supporting a positive association between extraversion and both self-reported and performance-based measures of physical functionality. Several potential mechanisms explaining this association are discussed including psychosocial, behavioral, and cognitive pathways. Existing evidence supports the notion that extraversion may be an important yet overlooked contributor to physical health. Interventions to prevent decline may benefit if targeted to groups at risk of decline conferred by detrimental personality traits such as low extraversion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPsychology of Extraversion
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781629486307
ISBN (Print)9781629486291
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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