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Personality, Coping, and Behavioral Medicine Developments

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The unequivocal assertion that personality does not change over time is beginning to be challenged, particularly with the advent of more sophisticated statistical methods that allow for the test of individual growth curves and trajectories. A number of studies have pointed out that neuroticism appears to decline with age (Mroczek and Spiro 2003; Small et al. 2003) and that agreeableness and conscientiousness appear to increase over time (Helson et al. 2002; Small et al. 2003). Terracciano et al. (2005) reported that openness declined across adulthood, neuroticism declined up to age 80, and for extraversion there was first stability and then decline, whereas there was an increase in agreeableness and conscientiousness up to age 70.

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FIGURE 7–4. Classes of hostility and cumulative disease.HT = hypertension; DEP = depression; CAN = cancer.Source. Siegler IC: "Psychology of Aging and the Public Health." 2007 Developmental Health Award, Division 20 and Division 38. Invited address presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA, August 2007. Reprinted with permission.

FIGURE 7–5. A model of psychosocial mediators of health events.CHD = coronary heart disease.Source. Williams RB: "Coping Skills Training in Different Cultures: The LifeSkills Experience." Poster presented at the First Conference of the Central Eastern European Society of Behavioral Medicine, Pecs, Hungary, August 20–22, 2007. Reprinted with permission.

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