Personality pathology and increased use of medical resources in later adulthood.


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Abstract

OBJECTIVEPersonality pathology is associated with many negative health outcomes in young adulthood, including overutilization of healthcare resources. It is unclear, however, what the relation between personality pathology and medical resource utilization is as individuals age and develop new physical health problems.METHODSThe present study examined whether personality disorder (PD) features were related to greater medical resource utilization in a sample of 1,630 community-dwelling participants, aged 55-64 years. PD features and health status were measured at baseline; medical resource utilization and new physical health problems were measured at four 6-month follow-up assessments. Multilevel modeling analyses tested associations between number of physical health problems and PD features in medical resource use over time.RESULTSGreater number of physical health problems significantly predicted higher medical resource utilization. The results also showed that many PD features were related to higher reported medical resource utilization independent of health status and sociodemographic variables. Schizoid and schizotypal PD features were associated with less reported medical resource utilization. When all PDs were included in the model together, dependent, antisocial, histrionic, and narcissistic PD features remained predictive of higher medical resource utilization.CONCLUSIONSPersonality pathology remains a relevant predictor of greater medical resource utilization into later adulthood and should be considered an important risk factor when trying to determine ways to reduce costly overuse of healthcare resources among older adults.

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