source: University of Illinois
A new research paper co-authored by a team of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign experts who study personality science points to the important role of personality traits to account for individual differences in the experience of stress.
In a meta-analysis that combined more than 1,500 effect sizes from nearly 300 primary studies, the team showed that while all of the “Big Five” personality traits — agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness — are related to stress, neuroticism has also been shown, Bo Zhang said. Professor of Labor and Employment Relations and Psychology at Illinois and one of the authors of the paper, It’s the Strongest Link.
“Stress is a significant mental and physical health problem that affects many people and many important areas of life, and some individuals are likely to experience or perceive stress disproportionately or more severely than others, which can play a role in mental and physical health problems such as anxiety or depression;
“We found that individuals with neuroticism”—an increased tendency toward negative affect as well as an exaggerated response to threat, frustration, or loss—showed a relationship with both stress exposure and perceived stress that was stronger than the other four personality traits. ”
Zhang’s co-authors are Jing Lu of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Mengyang Cao is a former graduate student of Yu. and Brent W. Roberts, Professor of Psychology at US University.
“The study is the first meta-analytic review that summarizes and integrates diverse findings on the links between the Big Five personality traits and stress,” said Lu, the research’s principal investigator.
“Our paper indicates that specific personality traits are an important source for understanding individual differences in stress.”
The researchers found that when stress was tested under various concepts, all of the Big Five traits were related to perceived stress—but only neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness were related to stress exposure.
“Other major personality factors are associated with stress, but they are not as pronounced as in the case of a nervous person,” Chang said.
With agreeableness and conscientiousness, for example, it is possible that nice people are less likely to face stressful situations such as interpersonal conflict because of a tendency to be caring, understanding, and forgiving.
“Similarly, conscientious people are less susceptible to stress because their good self-regulation abilities can protect them from facing stressful experiences, as well as the negative psychological effects of stressors.”
This is not the same way neuroticism affects stress, Chang said.
Neuroticism and stress share common components, so individuals with neuroticism are likely to be instrumental in generating stressors and reacting to a variety of events in negative ways, thereby increasing the likelihood or persistence of negative experiences.
The researchers said the study underscores the importance of personality in better understanding individual differences in stress.
“Stress is ubiquitous, and the findings in the current study may have implications for investigating individual differences in the experience of stress and identifying individuals at high risk of experiencing stress and related health problems,” Zhang said.
“If we want to add some kind of intervention program to help people manage stress, we may need to take their specific personality profile into account, since there are individual differences in how they handle stress.”
About this stress and personality traits research news
author: Phil Cisora
source: University of Illinois
Contact: Phil Ciciora – University of Illinois
picture: The image is in the public domain
Original search: Closed access.
“Stressed personality: a meta-analytical review of the relationship between personality and stress” by Jing Luo et al. Review of personality and social psychology
Stressful personality: a meta-analytical review of the relationship between personality and stress
The current study provided the first meta-analytical review of the associations between the Big Five personality traits and stress measured according to different concepts (stress exposure, psychological and physiological stress responses) using a total of 1575 effect sizes drawn from 298 samples.
Overall, neuroticism was found to be positively associated with stress, while extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness were negatively associated with stress. When stress was tested under different perceptions, only neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness were associated with stress exposure.
All of the Big Five personality traits were strongly associated with the perception of psychological stress, while the five personality traits showed weak-to-null correlations with the physiological stress response.
Additional moderation analyzes suggested that the associations between personality traits and stress under different concepts were also contingent on different characteristics of stress, sample, study design, and measures.
The results supported the important role of personality traits in individual differences in stress.