A team of psychologists have tried to answer the question, ‘how are personality traits and depression related?’

High levels of neuroticism put people at risk for depression and anxiety.

However, if those same individuals are also highly extraverted and conscientious, they could have a measure of protection against those disorders,

This is according to a new study by University at Buffalo psychologists.

“We know individually how these traits relate to symptoms, but now we are beginning to understand how the traits might impact one another,” says Kristin Naragon-Gainey, an assistant professor in UB’s Department of Psychology and the paper’s lead author.

WIN a R 2,000 Woolworths Voucher

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

“We have to consider the whole person in order to understand the likelihood of developing negative symptoms down the road.”

The researchers interviewed 463 participants who reported receiving psychiatric treatment during the past two years.

Related: Is it depression, ADHD or both?

The big five personality traits

Along with extraversion and conscientiousness, neuroticism it is among the “Big Five” personality traits, a group that also includes agreeableness and openness to experience.

People express each of the traits somewhere on a continuum.

The study examined the traits of neuroticism, extraversion and conscientiousness because those three have the strongest associations with mood and anxiety disorders.

  • Neuroticism is the tendency to experience different negative emotions and to react strongly to stress.
  • Someone high in extraversion would be very social, while another person low in extraversion would be much less outgoing.
  • Conscientiousness is the tendency to be organised, goal-oriented and non-impulsive.

“If someone has high levels of extraversion, they might be very good at gathering social support or increasing their positive affectivity through social means,” says Naragon-Gainey. “Similarly, conscientiousness has a lot to do with striving toward goals and putting plans in action, which can combat the withdrawal and avoidance that can go along with neuroticism.”

Source: University at Buffalo www.sciencedaily.com

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.