Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Depression and posttraumatic stress disorder are both associated with altered function of the hypothalamic--pituitary--adrenal axis. Neuroticism is a strong predisposing factor for depression and probably also a risk factor for posttraumatic stress disorder. This study investigated whether young adults with high and low neuroticism scores show differences in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis regulation that might relate to their differential vulnerability to psychopathology. METHODS: Neuroticism was measured with the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire in 258 students aged 18--25. Fourteen scoring in each of the upper and lower quartiles of the neuroticism distribution according to gender participated in a combined dexamethasone-corticotropin-releasing hormone test. RESULTS: Low-neuroticism individuals showed a significantly greater cortisol response than high-neuroticism individuals. CONCLUSIONS: The mechanism of this effect remains to be elucidated. High-neuroticism subjects may have a downregulated hypothalamic--pituitary--adrenal axis to prevent harmful overactivation. This is the first demonstration of a difference in hypothalamic--pituitary--adrenal axis regulation associated with neuroticism.


Journal article


Biol Psychiatry

Publication Date





410 - 415


Adult, Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone, Dexamethasone, Female, Humans, Hydrocortisone, Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System, Male, Neurotic Disorders, Pituitary-Adrenal System, Severity of Illness Index