Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Thomas Oltmanns


There is some evidence for a relationship between personality or personality-disordered: PD) traits and stressful life events: SLE) among young adults. Yet, the issue of how personality dispositions may be related to SLEs among middle age and older adults remains unresolved. In this prospective study, both self- and informant-report data were collected to examine the relationship between personality or PD traits and SLEs, and how these personality dispositions may moderate the effect of SLEs. Data were collected from 213 participants and their informants as part of the St. Louis Personality and Aging Network: SPAN) study, a longitudinal study of personality being conducted with a representative community sample of adults between the ages of 55 and 64 years from the St. Louis area. In general, neither self-reports nor informant-reports of personality or PD traits were generally predictive of the number of stressful life events. However, informant-reports of histrionic PD traits were associated with greater likelihood of experiencing interpersonal problems. Although the effects of stressful life events on subsequent psychosocial or marital adjustment were not generally moderated by personality or PD traits, informant-reports of cluster C PDs were associated with maladjustment for subsequent parental role adjustment and depressive symptoms. These results add significantly to the current understanding of not only the types and prevalence of stressful life events, but also in illustrating how associations between personality and stressful life events may be different among late middle-age adults compared to previous studies conducted with younger adults.


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