Individuals high in neuroticism are not more reactive to adverse events
Engelhard IM., Hout MAVD., Lommen MJJ.
Numerous studies have related neuroticism to negative emotional outcomes of adverse life events, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. However, the nature of the relationship between neuroticism and post-trauma symptoms is unclear. The purpose of this study was to prospectively examine whether individuals high in neuroticism, relative to low neuroticism individuals, show a larger increase in symptoms after an adverse event. A sample of infantry troops completed questionnaires before deployment to Iraq (n = 214) and about five months (n = 170; 76%) thereafter. The findings showed that, after controlling for an indicator of trauma severity, (a) higher neuroticism individuals reported more PTSD symptoms, depression symptoms, and somatic problems after negative events, and (b) these relationships disappeared after controlling for pre-trauma symptoms. There were no significant differences between individuals high and low in neuroticism in the increase in symptoms from pre to post-trauma. This suggests that individuals high in neuroticism are not more reactive to adverse events. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.