Document Type


Publication Date



It has not been well understood how conscientiousness and neuroticism are associated with two related but distinct dimensions of perceived control (i.e., perceived mastery and constraints) among aging adults. The present study examined these associations and their change over time, while addressing whether they differ by age or gender. For respondents aged 50+ at baseline (N = 2,768) in the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study, multilevel modeling analyses were conducted to assess how conscientiousness and neuroticism predicted perceived mastery and constraints over 2 decades. As expected, higher conscientiousness and lower neuroticism (for both between- and within-person variability) predicted higher perceived mastery and lower perceived constraints overall. Nuanced findings emerged related to age, gender and change over time for different associations of conscientiousness and neuroticism with the outcomes. These findings can inform future research suggesting directions of further investigations for these complex associations.


This is the authors’ peer-reviewed manuscript that the publisher permits to be posted here. The published article is copyright © 2021 The Authors. Sage Journals holds sole distribution rights over the published version of record. All rights reserved.