Neuroticism has been hypothesized to be a non-specific risk factor for both anxiety and unipolar mood disorders whereas some cognitive and personality-cognitive vulnerabilities have been hypothesized to be more specific to depression. Using a retrospective design with a sample of 575 high school juniors, we tested three competing models of the associations among these variables. Both neuroticism and the cognitive and personality-cognitive vulnerabilities had significant zero-order associations with rates of past diagnoses of both anxiety and unipolar mood disorders. Neuroticism had significant unique associations with past anxiety disorders and comorbid anxiety and unipolar mood disorders whereas the other vulnerabilities did not. In addition, gender interacted with neuroticism but not with the other vulnerabilities in associating with past diagnoses of mood disorders, showing that neuroticism is more highly associated with past unipolar mood diagnoses in males than in females. Finally, the cognitive and personality-cognitive vulnerabilities overlapped with substantial portions of the variance that neuroticism shared with diagnoses. These results suggest that, at least for retrospective associations with past anxiety and unipolar mood disorders, the cognitive and other personality-cognitive vulnerabilities are non-specific facets of neuroticism.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grants R01 MH65651 to Richard Zinbarg and Susan Mineka (NU) and R01 MH65652 to Michelle Craske (UCLA). This research was also supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant F31 MH076579 to Jonathan Sutton. Richard Zinbarg was also supported by the Patricia M Nielsen Research Chair of the Family Institute at Northwestern University. Grateful acknowledgment is given to Jeff Jaeger, Angela Chiong, Lauren Spies, Catherine D'Avanzato, Corissa Callahan, and Natalie Castriotta for their assistance with data collection and to C. Emily Durbin and Constance Hammen for comments on earlier drafts.
- Anxiety disorders
- Cognitive vulnerability
- Mood disorders