Stressful life events and openness to experience: Relevance to depression
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
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AbstractBackground: Stressful life events are known as risk factors for depression, though there is considerable heterogeneity in how people respond to stress. Previous studies have found an association between experience of stressful life events and the personality trait of openness to experience, which itself has been associated with intelligence, creativity, risk-taking, and other clinically relevant behaviors. In this study we explore the association between stressful life events and openness to experience as a potential developmental pathway to depression in the Amish and Mennonites, rural populations with high degree of social and environmental homogeneity. Methods: Participants in the Amish Connectome Project (n=531) were assessed with the NEO personality inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, Maryland Trait and State Depression scales, a Life Stressors Inventory, and cognitive tests. Results: We found that stressful life events were significantly associated with openness to experience; that participants with a history of depression exhibited higher levels of openness; and that openness to experience was related to overall intelligence but not processing speed or working memory. We found evidence that openness to experience partially mediates the relationship between stressful life events and depression. Limitations: This was a cross-sectional study, limiting interpretation of causal pathways. High levels of inter-relatedness among participants may have led to exaggerated effects compared to the general population. Conclusions: Together these findings indicate a complex developmental influence of major stressful life events, which paradoxically by enhancing openness may be associated with both greater intellectual engagement as well as psychopathology. © 2021
Rights/TermsCopyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/16669
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