Self-reported extremely adverse life events and longitudinal changes in five-factor model personality traits in an urban sample

Corinna E. Löckenhoff, Antonio Terracciano, Nicholas S. Patriciu, William W. Eaton, Paul T. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study examined longitudinal personality change in response to extremely adverse life events in a sample (N = 458) drawn from the East Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area study. Five-factor model personality traits were assessed twice over an average interval of 8 years. Twenty-five percent of the participants reported an extremely horrifying or frightening event within 2 years before the second personality assessment. Relative to the rest of the sample, they showed increases in neuroticism, decreases in the compliance facet of agreeableness, and decreases in openness to values. Baseline personality was unrelated to future events, but among participants who reported extreme events, lower extraversion and/or conscientiousness at baseline as well as longitudinal increases in neuroticism predicted lower mental health at follow-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of traumatic stress
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 31 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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