Neuroticism may increase risk for anxiety, depression

February 08, 2016

1 min read

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact customerservice@slackinc.com[1].

Adolescents with a strong personality trait of neuroticism were significantly more likely to develop anxiety and depression disorders, according to recent findings.

“Neuroticism was an especially strong predictor of the particularly pernicious state of developing both anxiety and depressive disorders,” said Richard Zinbarg, PhD, of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, said in a press release.

To assess hypothesized associations between neuroticism and unipolar mood disorders and anxiety disorders, Zinbarg and colleagues followed 547 adolescents over 3 years. Study participants were high school juniors at baseline.

Analysis indicated general neuroticism predicted substance use disorders, though was a stronger predictor of unipolar mood disorders and anxiety disorders, particularly comorbid unipolar mood disorders and anxiety disorders.

“Given that the general N factor was a stronger predictor of comorbid [unipolar mood disorders] and [anxiety disorders] than [substance use disorders], we inferred that the general N factor is more specifically related to elevated negative affectivity, sensitivity to aversive cues and behavioral inhibition than to elevated positive affectivity, cues for reward and behavioral disinhibition,” Zinbarg and colleagues wrote. “It would be important, however, for future research to test this notion more directly by measuring sensitivity to aversive cues and sensitivity to appetitive cues. Multiple methods should be used to assess these sensitivities including both behavioral measures and patterns of activation in threat- and reward-related neural circuitries.” – by Amanda Oldt

Disclosure: Please see the full study for a list of all authors’ relevant financial disclosures.