Personality Traits That Protect Against Depression

Posted on December 6, 2017

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A study published in the Journal of Research in Personality finds that these two personality traits - extroversion and conscientiousness - together, has a beneficial effect on depression. Being extraverted and conscientious helps educe the risk of depression in neurotic people, new research finds. People high in neuroticism typically view the world in a negative way, aside from finding it extremely difficult to deal with stress and experiencing a myriad of negative emotions. This research found that being social and organized somehow helps to ameliorate these effects.

First author of the study, Dr. Kristin Naragon-Gainey, explains that for someone with high levels of extraversion, gathering social support or increasing their positive affectivity through social means would be an easier task. Similarly, to combat the withdrawal and avoidance that goes along with neuroticism, conscientiousness has a lot to do with striving toward goals and putting plans in action, which is effective as an aid.

In the past, psychologists have typically focused on how individual aspects of personality affect depression risk. Dr. Naragon-Gainey explains that the key concept of this new study is exploring beyond just one single dimension of personality, such as neuroticism: "We know individually how these traits relate to symptoms, but now we are beginning to understand how the traits might impact one another. We have to consider the whole person in order to understand the likelihood of developing negative symptoms down the road."

For this study, 463 participants who had undergone psychiatric treatment in the last year were evaluated. Statistical analysis shows a protective effect that high conscientiousness and high extraversion together provides people who are highly neurotic. Dr Naragon-Gainey also discusses how there's a tendency in treatment and clinical psychology to just concentrate on the problem and the negatives. She feels that if the pre-existing strengths that are brought together with the clients are used, it can have an overall positive effect on the level of symptoms and treatment, going forward. She feels that it will also help in the reinforcement of what the person is already doing well in.

For more details, the study can be accessed here.

Category(s):Depression, Other

Source material from PsyBlog

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