alexa Linking "big" personality traits to anxiety, depressive, and substance use disorders: a meta-analysis
Psychiatry

Psychiatry

Journal of Psychiatry

Author(s): Kotov R, Gamez W, Schmidt F, Watson D

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We performed a quantitative review of associations between the higher order personality traits in the Big Three and Big Five models (i.e., neuroticism, extraversion, disinhibition, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness) and specific depressive, anxiety, and substance use disorders (SUD) in adults. This approach resulted in 66 meta-analyses. The review included 175 studies published from 1980 to 2007, which yielded 851 effect sizes. For a given analysis, the number of studies ranged from three to 63 (total sample size ranged from 1,076 to 75,229). All diagnostic groups were high on neuroticism (mean Cohen's d = 1.65) and low on conscientiousness (mean d = -1.01). Many disorders also showed low extraversion, with the largest effect sizes for dysthymic disorder (d = -1.47) and social phobia (d = -1.31). Disinhibition was linked to only a few conditions, including SUD (d = 0.72). Finally, agreeableness and openness were largely unrelated to the analyzed diagnoses. Two conditions showed particularly distinct profiles: SUD, which was less related to neuroticism but more elevated on disinhibition and disagreeableness, and specific phobia, which displayed weaker links to all traits. Moderator analyses indicated that epidemiologic samples produced smaller effects than patient samples and that Eysenck's inventories showed weaker associations than NEO scales. In sum, we found that common mental disorders are strongly linked to personality and have similar trait profiles. Neuroticism was the strongest correlate across the board, but several other traits showed substantial effects independent of neuroticism. Greater attention to these constructs can significantly benefit psychopathology research and clinical practice.

This article was published in Psychological Bulletin and referenced in Journal of Psychiatry

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