Stress-sensitivity and reciprocal associations between stressful events and adolescent temperament

Odilia M. Laceulle, Marcel A. G. van Aken, Johan Ormel, Esther Nederhof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This study aimed to elucidate the longitudinal, bidirectional associations between stressful life events (SLEs) and adolescent temperament. Subsequently, the study investigated whether the effects of SLEs on future temperament were moderated by (a) a cumulative sensitivity gene index (b) the 5-HTTLPR (the polymorphism most consistently indicated as a sensitivity genotype) and (c) pre/perinatal risk. Data were used from TRAILS, a large population cohort of Dutch adolescents (n = 1475). Temperament was assessed at 11, 16 and 19 years. Data of SLEs that occurred between age 0–11, 11–16, and 16–19 were captured using interviews. The results indicated that SLEs and temperament traits are associated from childhood to adolescence and that the direction of the effects differed between temperament traits. Whereas SLEs were found to predict subsequent fear, SLEs were predicted by, but not predictive of, shyness and affiliation. For effortful control and frustration a fully reciprocal model was found. The cumulative sensitivity gene index, 5-HTTLPR and the pre/perinatal risk did not moderate the effects of SLEs on future temperament.
Keywords: Stress, Temperament, Cross-lagged, Inter-individual differences, GxE
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-83
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Stress
  • Temperament
  • Cross-lagged
  • Inter-individual differences
  • GxE


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