Associations between personality and end-of-life care preferences among men with prostate cancer: A clustering approach

Emily G. Lattie*, Yasmin Asvat, Smriti Shivpuri, James Gerhart, Sean O'Mahony, Paul Duberstein, Michael Hoerger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Context Increased focus on patient-centered care models has contributed to greater emphasis on improving quality of life at the end of life through personalized medicine. However, little is known about individual-level factors impacting end-of-life care preferences. Objectives To examine whether the five-factor model of personality explains variation in preferences for end-of-life care in men with prostate cancer. Methods Two hundred twelve men with a prostate cancer diagnosis (mean age = 62 years) completed a measure of the five-factor model of personality - spanning the personality dimensions of neuroticism, agreeableness, extraversion, openness, and conscientiousness - and reported on end-of-life care preferences. Cluster analyses were used to partition the sample into groups with similar care preferences. Analyses of variance and Chi-square tests were used to evaluate differences in care preferences among the groups. Results Cluster analyses revealed three groups of participants: "comfort-oriented patients," "service-accepting patients," and "service-reluctant patients." Most (67%) were comfort oriented, preferring palliative care and opposing life support services. A subset of patients were service accepting (17%), preferring both palliative care and life support, or were service reluctant (16%), preferring neither. Service-reluctant patients endorsed significantly higher levels of neuroticism (emotional instability and negativity) than comfort-oriented patients. Comfort-oriented patients endorsed significantly higher levels of agreeableness than service-accepting patients and service-reluctant patients. Conclusion Findings suggest that personality traits are associated with specific health care preferences. Individuals high on neuroticism are likely to report reluctance toward all forms of end-of-life care and may benefit from in-depth information about the process and likely outcomes of receiving life support and palliative care services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-59
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • End-of-life care
  • health care preferences
  • palliative care
  • personality
  • prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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