The relationship between self-esteem and depression when controlling for neuroticism

Wenting Mu*, Jing Luo, Sven Rieger, Ulrich Trautwein, Brent W. Roberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Much research has examined the interplay of depression and self-esteem in an effort to determine whether depression causes self-esteem (scar model), or vice versa (vulnerability model). In the current longitudinal study (N = 2,318), we tested whether neuroticism served as a confounding variable that accounted for the association of depression and self-esteem, using both cross-lag models and latent growth models. We found neuroticism accounted for the majority of covariance between depression and self-esteem, to the degree that the scar and vulnerability models appear to be inadequate explanations for the relation between depression and self-esteem. Alternatively, neuroticism appears to be a viable cause of both depression and self-esteem and could explain prior work linking the two constructs over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11
JournalCollabra: Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Depression
  • Neuroticism
  • Scar model
  • Self-esteem
  • Vulnerability model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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