Background: Diabetes mellitus is highly prevalent in the elderly population, with a significant impact on quality of life. This study aimed to explore the relationship between personality traits and quality of life in an elderly population with diabetes.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Center. Outpatients above 60 years old with a diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus were recruited. Sociodemographic and clinical information were obtained. Quality of life was assessed using the WHO Quality of Life-BREF questionnaire and personality traits were assessed using the Big Five Inventory questionnaire. Depression and anxiety were measured with Beck Depression Inventory and Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale respectively and controlled for in statistical analyses.
Results: There were 170 study participants (median age=69.0 years; IQR: 65.0-73.0; 51.2% male). In stepwise linear regression models, higher conscientiousness scores (β=0.156; p=0.044) and lower neuroticism scores (β=-0.176; p=0.028) were associated with greater quality of life in the physical health domain. Higher extraversion scores (β=0.209; p=0.001) and higher conscientiousness scores (β=0.248; p<0.001) were associated with greater quality of life in the psychological health domain. Higher agreeableness scores (β=0.286; p<0.001) were associated with greater quality of life in the social relationship domain. Finally, higher agreeableness scores (β=0.327; p<0.001) and lower neuroticism scores (β=-0.223; p=0.001) were associated with greater quality of life in the environment domain.
Conclusions: Personality traits were closely associated with all domains of quality of life among elderly patients with diabetes mellitus. Premorbid personality may have important role in moderating the impact of diabetes mellitus on the lives of elderly patients.