Reciprocal effects of neuroticism and life stress in adolescence

Allison Metts, Julia Yarrington, Craig Enders, Constance Hammen, Susan Mineka, Richard Zinbarg, Michelle G. Craske*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Stressful life experiences and personality can influence one another. Personality may contribute to the amount and type of stress individuals experience, which is referred to as a selection effect. Life stress may also impact one's personality, which is referred to as a socialization effect. It was hypothesized that neuroticism would predict increased chronic and episodic stress (selection effect) and that chronic and episodic stress would predict increased neuroticism (socialization effect). Methods: The current study investigated selection and socialization effects of neuroticism and life stress over a three-year period in 627 adolescents. Life stress data were examined in terms of duration (chronic versus episodic) and type (interpersonal versus non-interpersonal). Episodic stress data were examined as dependent or independent. Results: The results from ten cross-lagged panel models provided some evidence for significant selection and socialization effects depending on stress type. Over three years, we observed that neuroticism increases interpersonal chronic stress and non-interpersonal stressful events (selection effects) and that dependent non-interpersonal stressful events and chronic stress increase neuroticism (socialization effects). Limitations: Study limitations include a lack of a lifespan perspective and a statistical approach that does not differentiate between- from within-person variance. Conclusions: Findings suggest the value of attending to stress response as well as targeting neuroticism in prevention and intervention approaches in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-255
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - Feb 15 2021


  • chronic stress
  • episodic stress
  • neuroticism
  • selection effect
  • socialization effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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