Vulnerability to Psychologial Distress: Empirical and Conceptual Distinctions between Measures of Neuroticism and Negative Affect Academic Article uri icon


  • In two studies, 97 and 176 individuals (47 men and 50 women, M age 34.2 yr.; and 88 men and 88 women, M age 34.8) known to have experienced a recent period of psychological distress were compared with otherwise similar individuals who reported no such experience on measures of neuroticism, extraversion, and positive and negative affect. In both studies, the neuroticism measure was a significant independent discriminator between the groups while the negative affect measure was not. This suggests that (a) measures of neuroticism tap factors additional to those tapped by scales measuring only levels of characteristic negative affect and (b) these factors are related to individual differences in vulnerability to psychological distress.

publication date

  • December 1993