The Stressful Personality: A Meta-Analytical Review of the Relation Between Personality and Stress

Jing Luo, Bo Zhang, Mengyang Cao, Brent W. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study presented the first meta-analytic review on the associations between the Big Five personality traits and stress measured under different conceptualizations (stressor exposure, psychological and physiological stress responses) using a total of 1,575 effect sizes drawn from 298 samples. Overall, neuroticism was found to be positively related to stress, whereas extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness were negatively linked to stress. When stress assessed under different conceptualizations was tested, only neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness were related to stressor exposure. All of the Big Five personality traits were significantly associated with psychological stress perception, whereas the five personality traits showed weak to null associations with physiological stress response. Further moderation analyses suggested that the associations between personality traits and stress under different conceptualizations were also contingent upon different characteristics of stress, sample, study design, and measures. The results supported the important role of personality traits in individual differences in stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128–194
Number of pages67
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Review
Issue number2
Early online dateJul 8 2022
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Big Five
  • meta-analysis
  • physiological stress response
  • psychological stress perception
  • stressor exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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