Changes in neuroticism following trauma exposure.


Journal Article

Using longitudinal data, the present study examined change in midlife neuroticism following trauma exposure. Our primary analyses included 670 participants (M(age) = 60.55; 65.22% male, 99.70% Caucasian) who completed the NEO Personality Inventory at ages 42 and 50 and reported their lifetime exposure to traumatic events approximately 10 years later. No differences in pre- and post-trauma neuroticism scores were found among individuals who experienced all of their lifetime traumas in the interval between the personality assessments. Results were instead consistent with normative age-related declines in neuroticism throughout adulthood. Furthermore, longitudinal changes in neuroticism scores did not differ between individuals with and without histories of midlife trauma exposure. Examination of change in neuroticism following life-threatening traumas yielded a comparable pattern of results. Analysis of facet-level scores largely replicated findings from the domain scores. Overall, our findings suggest that neuroticism does not reliably change following exposure to traumatic events in middle adulthood. Supplemental analyses indicated that individuals exposed to life-threatening traumas in childhood or adolescence reported higher midlife neuroticism than individuals who experienced severe traumas in adulthood. Life-threatening traumatic events encountered early in life may have a more pronounced impact on adulthood personality than recent traumatic events.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ogle, CM; Rubin, DC; Siegler, IC

Published Date

  • April 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 82 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 93 - 102

PubMed ID

  • 23550961

Pubmed Central ID

  • 23550961

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-6494

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/jopy.12037


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States