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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 5659793, 7 pages
Research Article

Personality and Perceived Health in Spousal Caregivers of Patients with Lung Cancer: The Roles of Neuroticism and Extraversion

1Departments of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Medicine, Tulane Cancer Center, 3070 Stern Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
2Main Line Health, Newtown Square, PA 19073, USA
3Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center, 300 Crittenden Boulevard, Rochester, NY 14642, USA
4Department of Biostatistics, University of Rochester Medical Center, 300 Crittenden Boulevard, Rochester, NY 14642, USA

Received 16 January 2016; Revised 17 March 2016; Accepted 23 March 2016

Academic Editor: Elke Bromberg

Copyright © 2016 Michael Hoerger et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. Family members’ responsibilities for patients with cancer have increased dramatically over the past decade and will likely continue to rise. Given that caregiving is associated with declines in self-care, there is a need for research on caregivers’ perceptions of their own health. The purpose of this study was to examine whether personality is associated with four self-report perceived health items from the SF-36. Methods. The sample consisted of 114 spouses of lung cancer patients who completed cross-sectional measures as part of a larger cohort study on adjustment to the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. Predictors of interest were Neuroticism and Extraversion scores from the NEO-FFI. Covariates were age, gender, conscientiousness, depressive symptoms, and objective illness burden. Results. Multivariate analyses revealed that caregivers with higher Extraversion scores were less likely to respond affirmatively to the item “I expect my health to get worse” (OR = 0.90, ). Neuroticism was associated with poorer perceived health (ORs from 1.11 to 1.12, ’s < 0.05). Conclusions. The present cross-sectional findings suggest that personality is associated with responses to SF-36 perceived health items beyond what can be accounted for by objective illness burden and other covariates. The potential overestimation of health among extraverted caregivers may have implications for their health outcomes.