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A neurotic personality trait is a key risk factor for stress perception

A neurotic personality trait is a key risk factor for stress perception

Summary: People with a neurotic personality type have a stronger relationship with both stressor exposure and perceived stress than any of the other four personality types.

Source: University of Illinois

A new paper co-authored by a team of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign personality science experts points to the important role of personality traits in explaining individual differences in the experience of stress.

In a meta-analysis that synthesized more than 1,500 effect sizes from about 300 primary studies, the team showed that while all of the “Big Five” personality traits — agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness — were associated with experiencing stress, neuroticism showed the strongest link. , said Bo Zhang, professor of labor and employment relations and psychology at Illinois and co-author of the paper.

“Stress is a significant mental and physical health problem that affects many people and many important domains of life, and some people are more likely to experience or perceive stress disproportionately or more intensely than others, which can then play a role in mental and physical health. problems such as anxiety or depression,” he said.

“We found that individuals high in neuroticism”—an increased tendency toward negative affect, as well as an exaggerated response to threat, frustration, or loss—”showed a relationship with stressor exposure and perceived stress that was stronger than the other four personality traits. ”

Zhang’s co-authors are Jing Luo, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; former U. of I. graduate student Mengyang Cao; and Brent W. Roberts, professor of psychology at the U. of I.

“The study is the first meta-analytic review that summarizes and integrates various findings on the links between the Big Five personality traits and stress,” said Luo, the study’s principal investigator.

“Our work suggests that certain personality traits are an important source for understanding individual differences in stress.”

The researchers found that when tested stress was assessed according to different conceptualizations, all of the Big Five traits were associated with perceived stress—but only neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness were associated with stressor exposure.

“Other major personality factors have a relationship with stress, but it is not as pronounced as in someone who is neurotic,” Zhang said.

“For example, along with agreeableness and conscientiousness, it is possible that agreeable people will encounter less stressful situations such as interpersonal conflict because of their tendency to be caring, reasonable, and forgiving.

The study highlights the importance of personality in better understanding individual differences in stress, the researchers said. Image is in the public domain

“Similarly, conscientious people experience less stress because their good self-regulation skills can protect them from encountering stressful experiences as well as the negative psychological effects of stressors.

But that’s not the same way neuroticism affects stress, Zhang said.

“Neuroticism and stress share common components, so individuals high in neuroticism are likely to play a key role in creating stressors and reacting to a wide range of events in negative ways, leading to an increased likelihood or chronicity of negative experiences,” he said.

The study highlights the importance of personality in better understanding individual differences in stress, the researchers said.

“Stress is ubiquitous, and the findings in the current study may have implications for investigating individual differences in experiencing stress and identifying individuals who are at high risk for suffering from stress and related health problems,” said Zhang.

“If we want to add some kind of intervention program to help people manage stress, we may need to take into account their specific personality profile, because there are individual differences in how people deal with stress.”

See also

This shows a lady who looks bored

About this research on stress and personality traits

Author: Phil Ciciora
Source: University of Illinois
Contact: Phil Ciciora – University of Illinois
picture: Image is in the public domain

Original Research: Closed access.
Stressful personality: a meta-analytic review of the relationship between personality and stress” Jing Luo et al. Personality & Social Psychology Review


Abstract

Stressful personality: a meta-analytic review of the relationship between personality and stress

The current study presented the first meta-analytic review on the association between the Big Five personality traits and stress measured according to different conceptualizations (stressor exposure, psychological and physiological responses to stress) using a total of 1,575 effect sizes drawn from 298 samples.

In general, neuroticism was found to be positively related to stress, while extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness were negatively related to stress. When tested stress was assessed according to different conceptualizations, only neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness were associated with stressor exposure.

All of the Big Five personality traits were significantly associated with the perception of psychological stress, while five personality traits showed weak to zero associations with the physiological response to stress.

Further moderation analyzes suggested that the relationships between personality traits and stress under different conceptualizations were also dependent on different characteristics of stress, sample, study design, and measures.

The results confirmed the important role of personality traits in individual differences in stress.



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