Association between personality and cognitive performance in middle-aged and older adults with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Academic Article


  • Background: Nearly half of adults with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) experience HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND), characterized by cognitive impairments in two or more cognitive domains, which can interfere with everyday functioning. Many factors are thought to influence such cognitive impairments in adults with HIV; one factor seldom examined is personality. Objective: This study investigated the association between five major dimensions of personality (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) and cognitive function in older adults with HIV. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, a secondary data analysis was conducted on 261 HIV + participants. Participants completed a norm-based cognitive battery covering seven cognitive domains, which yielded the following indices: global cognitive impairment, and global and domain-specific T-scores. The Big Five Inventory was used to assess personality traits. Results: Higher openness, conscientiousness, and agreeableness were associated with better performance on individual cognitive domains while agreeableness and openness were also positively associated with global cognitive T-scores (p <.01). Only openness significantly predicted global cognition when adjusting for covariates (p <.01). Discussion: Openness was associated with better global cognitive function in persons with HIV. This study provides a basis for further investigation of potential mechanisms for the association between personality and cognition in people with HIV in order to ultimately inform intervention strategies.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 21048218
  • Author List

  • Fazeli PL; Cheatwood JD; Hopkins C; Vance DE; Shirey MR; Azuero A; Crowe M