M. van den Hout
- The relationship between neuroticism, pre-traumatic stress, and post-traumatic stress: A prospective study.
- Personality and Individual Differences
- Volume | Issue number
- 35 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
The personality trait of Neuroticism has been repeatedly associated with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, the nature of this relationship is unclear. There are at least two possible interpretations: neuroticism might be a risk factor for PTSD symptoms, or, alternatively, the relationship might be based on content overlap in arousal symptoms. With a prospective design, this study tested both possibilities. About 1370 women volunteers completed questionnaires early in pregnancy, measuring neuroticism and "baseline" arousal symptoms, and for every 2 months thereafter until 1 month after the due date of birth. Of these, 126 had a pregnancy loss, and most of them were assessed for PTSD symptoms 1 month later. The results showed that pre-trauma neuroticism strongly predicted PTSD symptoms, and particularly PTSD arousal symptoms, after pregnancy loss. However, neuroticism was also strongly related to pre-trauma arousal. After statistically controlling for pre-trauma arousal symptoms, the relationship between neuroticism and PTSD symptoms after pregnancy loss was no longer significant. In other words, neuroticism did not predict rises in these symptoms from pre to post-trauma. This suggests that PTSD arousal symptoms tap a specific aspect of neuroticism, and...
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