Previous studies suggest that self-compassion is related to numerous facets of mental health, but the role of cognitions in this relationship remains unknown. To examine the mediating role of cognitions in the relationship between self-compassion and anxiety, depression, and life satisfaction when controlling for self-esteem in Japanese people, we conducted two studies. Study 1 (N = 231) examined the relationship between self-compassion and affect by modeling negative automatic thoughts as a mediator; Study 2 (N = 233) tested whether positive and negative automatic thoughts meditate this relationship. Results suggested that both self-compassion and self-esteem increased positive automatic thoughts and decreased trait anxiety, whereas only self-esteem increased life satisfaction and decreased depression directly. Positive automatic thoughts increased life satisfaction and decreased depression and trait anxiety, and positive automatic thoughts mediated the relationship between self-compassion and negative affect. These findings suggest that both positive and negative automatic thoughts mediate the relationship between self-compassion and affect in Japanese people.
Self-compassion; Self-esteem; Automatic thoughts; Anxiety; Depression; Life satisfaction
•Stick-figure animations of speakers were rated on different personality traits.•Ratings were related to the applause and the hecklings the speakers received.•Dominance, agreeableness and extraversion were notable predictors of applause.•People read socially relevant information from body motion.
Appearance cues and brief displays of behavior are related to people’s personality, to their performance at work and to the outcomes of elections. Thus, people present themselves to others on different communication channels, while their interaction partners form first impressions on the basis of the displayed cues. In the current study we examined whether people are able to read information from politicians’ body motion. For a rating experiment we translated short video clips of politicians giving a speech into animated stick-figures and had these animations rated on trustworthiness, dominance, competence and the Big Five personality dimensions. Afterwards we correlated the ratings with the applause and the hecklings that the speakers received throughout their entire speech. This revealed that speakers whose body movements were perceived as high on dominance, as high on extraversion and as low on agreeableness received more applause. Although the results obtained need support from additional studies they indicate that body motion is an informative cue in real life settings.
Nonverbal communication; Body motion; Impression formation; Dominance; Big Five; Politics
Studies have examined age-related changes in personality traits from adolescence through young adulthood, finding that aspects of negative emotionality decrease while conscientiousness increases over time. Varied mechanisms may underlie these transitions, including puberty-driven hormonal changes. Here, healthy adolescents completed the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire-Brief Form and self-report measures of pubertal status at baseline and after two years. Independent of age, pubertal status impacted primary trait scales of the MPQ-BF Constraint factor in a sex-specific manner. Females decreased in Constraint, and particularly Control, while males increased in Constraint, and particularly Harm Avoidance, with advancing puberty. Longitudinal analyses validated these findings for Control. Findings are discussed relative to males’ versus females’ achievement of optimal levels of behavioral control in adolescence.
Puberty; Constraint; Control; Sex differences
Disruptive Behaviors Disorders (DBD), including Oppositional-Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), are fairly common and highly impairing childhood behavior disorders that can be diagnosed as early as preschool. Prenatal exposure to testosterone may be particularly relevant to these early-emerging DBDs that exhibit a sex-biased prevalence rate favoring males. The current study examined associations between preschool DBD symptom domains and prenatal exposure to testosterone measured indirectly via right 2D:4D finger-length ratios. The study sample consisted of 109 preschool-age children between ages 3 and 6 (64% males;72% with DBD) and their primary caregivers. Primary caregivers completed a semi-structured interview (i.e., Kiddie Disruptive Behavior Disorder Schedule), as well as symptom questionnaires (i.e., Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale, Peer Conflict Scale); teachers and/or daycare providers completed symptom questionnaires and children provided measures of prenatal testosterone exposure, measured indirectly via finger-length ratios (i.e., right 2D:4D). Study results indicated a significant association of high prenatal testosterone (i.e., smaller right 2D:4D) with high hyperactive-impulsive ADHD symptoms in girls but not boys, suggesting that the effect may be driven by, or might only exist in, girls. The present study suggests that prenatal exposure to testosterone may increase risk for early ADHD, particularly hyperactivity-impulsivity, in preschool girls.
Preschool children; ADHD; Prenatal; Testosterone; Hyperactivity; Impulsivity
Distress tolerance (DT) is a proposed transdiagnostic factor in psychopathology, yet sources of individual differences in DT are largely unknown. The present study examined mindfulness and rumination facets as predictors of persistence on a standardized DT task (mirror tracing). Acting with awareness (a facet of mindfulness) and reflection (a potentially adaptive form of rumination) predicted increased DT. Increased task-induced skin conductance reactivity predicted decreased DT. These results held after controlling for task skill and subjective and heart rate reactivity. Together, these results suggest that teaching skills to promote mindful awareness and reflection hold promise as interventions to enhance DT.
Mindfulness; rumination; distress tolerance
Discriminatory experiences are not only momentarily distressing, but can also increase risk for lasting physical and psychological problems. Specifically, significantly higher rates of depression and depressive symptoms are reported among people who are frequently the target of prejudice. Given the gravity of this problem, this research focuses on an individual difference, trait mindfulness, as a protective factor in the association between discrimination and depressive symptoms. In a community sample of 605 individuals, trait mindfulness dampens the relationship between perceived discrimination and depressive symptoms. Additionally, mindfulness provides benefits above and beyond those of positive emotions. Trait mindfulness may thus operate as a protective individual difference for targets of discrimination.
Trait mindfulness; Perceived discrimination; Depressive symptoms; Positive emotions
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is associated with obesity, a major
risk factor for a number of chronic illnesses (e.g., cardiovascular disease). We
examined whether impulsivity and affective instability mediate the association
between BPD pathology and body mass index (BMI). Participants were a community
sample of adults ages 55–64 and their informants. The Structured
Interview for DSM-IV Personality measured BPD symptoms and the Revised NEO
Personality Inventory measured self- and informant-report impulsivity and
affective instability. Mediation analyses demonstrated that only higher
self-report impulsivity significantly mediated the association between greater
BPD pathology and higher BMI. A subsequent model revealed that higher scores on
the impulsiveness (lack of inhibitory control) and deliberation (planning)
facets of impulsivity mediated the BPD–BMI association, with
impulsiveness exerting a stronger mediation effect than deliberation. Obesity
interventions that improve inhibitory control may be most effective for
individuals with BPD pathology.
Borderline personality disorder; Personality pathology; Obesity; Body mass index; Impulsivity; Inhibitory control; Affective instability; Emotion dysregulation
Theories of cognitive vulnerability to depression (CVD) imply that CVD is early-emerging and trait-like; however, little longitudinal work has tested this premise in middle childhood, or examined theoretically relevant predictors of child CVD. We examined test–retest correlations of self-referent encoding task performance and self-reported attributional styles and their associations with parental characteristics in 205 seven-year-olds. At baseline, child CVD was assessed, structured clinical interviews were conducted with parents, and ratings of observed maternal affective styles were made. Children’s CVD was re-assessed approximately one and two years later. Both measures of children’s CVD were prospectively and concurrently associated with children’s depressive symptoms and showed modest stability. Multilevel modeling indicated that maternal criticism and paternal depression were related to children’s CVD. Findings indicate that even early-emerging CVD is a valid marker of children’s depression risk.
Depression; Childhood; Cognitive vulnerability
Reinforcement sensitivity theory includes the idea that people differ in their sensitivity to negative events, but relevant process-based assessments have not been developed. The present studies assessed sensitivity to negative events in terms of the extent to which negative word stimuli were perceived to be larger than neutral word stimuli. There was a general tendency to overestimate the size of negative relative to neutral words, but individuals differed substantially in this form of what is termed perceptual negativity. Of more importance, two studies (total N = 151) found systematic relationships between individual differences in perceptual negativity and reactivity to negative events in daily diary protocols. Study 1 found that within-person variations in the occurrence of daily negative events undermined goal-related optimism to a greater extent at higher, relative to lower, levels of perceptual negativity. Study 2 conceptually replicated this interaction in the context of within-person associations between the occurrence of daily negative events and antisocial behavior. These findings are important in advancing reinforcement sensitivity theory, in operationalizing a particular component of it, and in extending it to reactivity processes in daily life.
Reinforcement Sensitivity; Behavioral Inhibition; Perception; Reactivity; Daily
Although research has established a negative association between trait neuroticism and cognition, little is known about the mechanisms that underlie this relationship. We examined the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts and negative affect as potential mediators of the relationship between neuroticism and cognitive performance. We hypothesized that the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts reflects ineffective attentional control and would account for the relationship between neuroticism and cognitive performance over and above the mediating effect of negative affect. Three hundred seventeen adults (Mage =49.43) completed a series of attention-demanding cognitive tasks as well as self-report measures of intrusive thoughts, negative affect, and neuroticism. Intrusive thoughts mediated the association between trait neuroticism and cognitive performance beyond negative affect. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts is a mechanism through which trait neuroticism influences cognitive performance.
Neuroticism; cognition; intrusive thoughts; repetitive thinking; rumination; worry; negative affect
This study examined performance on the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT; Bechara, Damasio, Damasio, & Anderson, 1994) as a measure of low-income school-aged children's affective decision-making and considered its utility as a direct indicator of impulsivity. One hundred and ninety-three 8-11 year olds performed a computerized version of the Iowa Gambling Task, a validated measure of decision-making. Multi-level modeling was used to examine children's performance over the course of the task, with age, gender, and teachers' ratings of child impulsivity (BIS-11; Patton, Stanford, & Barratt, 1995) used to predict children's Iowa Gambling performance. Higher impulsivity scores predicted a decrease in slope of Iowa Gambling performance, indicating students rated higher on impulsivity chose more disadvantageously across the task blocks. Results support evidence of the validity of the Iowa Gambling Task as a measure of impulsivity in low-income minority children.
Decision-making; impulsivity; reward sensitivity; Iowa Gambling Task
Individual differences in the evaluation of affective stimuli, such as the positivity offset and negativity bias may have a biological basis. We tested whether two SNPs (HTR2A; 102T>C and HTR1A; 1019C>G) related to serotonin receptor function, a biological pathway associated with affective regulation, were differentially related to positivity offset and negativity bias for males and females. Participants were 109 cigarette smokers who rated a series of affective stimuli to assess reactions to positive and negative pictures. Gender × genotype interactions were found for both SNPs. Males with the 102T allele showed a greater positivity offset than males with the 102C allele. For females, in contrast, the 1019C allele was associated with a greater positivity offset than the 1019G allele, whereas the 102T allele was associated with a greater negativity bias than the 102C allele. Identifying how gender differences may moderate the effect of serotonin receptor genes on affective information processing may provide insight into their role in guiding behavior and regulating affect.
Cognitive Processes; Affect regulation; Negativity bias; Positivity bias; Gender; Serotonin receptor gene
Starting in adolescence and continuing through adulthood, women are twice as likely as men to experience depression. According to the response styles theory (RST), gender differences in depression result, in part, from women’s tendency to ruminate more than men. A meta-analysis was performed to evaluate gender differences in rumination in adults (k = 59; N = 14,321); additionally, an analysis of subtypes of rumination – brooding and reflection – was conducted (k = 23). Fixed effects analyses indicated that women scored higher than men in rumination (d = .24, p < .01, SEd = .02), brooding (d = .19, p < .01, SEd = .03) and reflection (d = .17, p < .01, SEd = .03); there was no evidence of heterogeneity or publication bias across studies for these effect sizes. Although statistically significant, the effect sizes for gender differences in rumination were small in magnitude. Results are discussed with respect to the RST and gender differences in depression.
Rumination; Gender difference; Sex difference; Depression; Brooding; Reflection
Victimization is associated with substance use in women, but less is known about linkages between witnessing community violence and substance use, even though more women witness versus directly experience violence. Further, factors that contribute to or protect against women’s problematic substance use are less well understood. Urban female caregivers (N = 318; > 92% African American/black) living in low-income communities were interviewed annually for three waves regarding exposure to community violence, coping behaviors, substance use, and protective factors. Path analyses revealed that lifetime witnessing of violence, but not victimization, assessed at baseline, was associated with changes in avoidant coping, but not active coping, one year later; avoidant coping, in turn, was related to changes in and higher levels of problematic drug use the following year. Victimization was directly related to problematic drug use, but not to alcohol use. Regression analyses indicated that high levels of religious commitment and social support at baseline were prospectively associated with lower levels of avoidant coping. Because caregivers are important role models for their children, it is important to attend to the factors that contribute to their substance use and abuse.
violence; coping; protective factors; alcohol use; drug use
A growing body of research suggests that personality characteristics relate to physical health; however, this relation ship has primarily been tested in cross-sectional studies that have not followed the participants into old age. The present study utilizes data from a 70-year longitudinal study to prospectively examine the relationship between the adaptive defense mechanisms in midlife and objectively assessed physical health in late life. In addition to examining the direct effect, we test whether social support mediates this relation ship. The sample consisted of 90 men who were followed for over seven decades beginning in late adolescence. Health ratings from medical records were made at three time points (ages 70, 75, and 80). Defense mechanisms were coded from narratives by trained independent raters (Vaillant, Bond, & Vaillant, 1986). Independent raters assessed social supports between ages 50 and 70. More adaptive defenses in midlife were associated with better physical health at all three time points in late life. These relationships were partially mediated by social support. Findings are consistent with the theory that defense maturity is important for building social relationships, which in turn contribute to better late-life physical health. Psychological interventions aimed at improving these domains may be beneficial for physical health.
Personality; Defense mechanisms; Defense maturity; Coping; Social support; Physical health
The best evidence for gender differences in child temperament is in the broad areas of effortful control and surgency, and to an extent negative affectivity, domains that encompass temperament dimensions of inhibitory control, activity level, and shyness. We examined the influence of child gender in a methodologically comprehensively assessed twin sample. We used mother, father, and Laboratory Temperament Assessment Battery (Lab-TAB) ratings to assess temperament in 3 year-olds. Boys had higher levels of activity level and lower levels of shyness and inhibitory control than girls across all methods of assessment. Then, more rigorous testing showed that patterns of mean gender differences for opposite-sex twin pairs in our sample were very consistent with overall sample gender differences and the magnitude of these gender differences was consistent across assessment methodology. We then asked: are these more gendered dimensions of temperament associated with one another, and are associations different across gender? The answer to both questions is, yes. Shyer children have lower activity level and higher inhibitory control, and those with higher inhibitory control are less active. Gender differences did appear in the intercorrelations between parent ratings of shyness and inhibitory control with only girls showing significant associations within and across these dimensions.
Sex differences between men and women in social anxiety are largely unexplored. This study sought to shed some light on this topic. We administered self-report measures of social anxiety to community samples of 17,672 women and 13,440 men from 16 Latin American countries, Spain and Portugal, as well as to a clinical sample of 601 patients diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. Small but significant differences were found between men and women in the general degree of social anxiety and self-reported fears of interactions with the opposite sex, criticism and embarrassment, and speaking in public-talking to people in authority. These results point to small, but meaningful differences between men and women in social anxiety. Implications of these results for the self-report measurement of social anxiety in men and women are discussed.
Social anxiety; Social phobia; Sex differences; Age differences; Cross-cultural differences; SAQ-A30
•Creativity and personality of classical, jazz, and folk musicians was compared.•Jazz musicians show higher divergent thinking ability.•Jazz musicians accomplish more creative musical activities and achievements.•Classical musicians show a high amount of practice and win more competitions.•Folk musicians are more extraverted and publish more musical productions.
The music genre of jazz is commonly associated with creativity. However, this association has hardly been formally tested. Therefore, this study aimed at examining whether jazz musicians actually differ in creativity and personality from musicians of other music genres. We compared students of classical music, jazz music, and folk music with respect to their musical activities, psychometric creativity and different aspects of personality. In line with expectations, jazz musicians are more frequently engaged in extracurricular musical activities, and also complete a higher number of creative musical achievements. Additionally, jazz musicians show higher ideational creativity as measured by divergent thinking tasks, and tend to be more open to new experiences than classical musicians. This study provides first empirical evidence that jazz musicians show particularly high creativity with respect to domain-specific musical accomplishments but also in terms of domain-general indicators of divergent thinking ability that may be relevant for musical improvisation. The findings are further discussed with respect to differences in formal and informal learning approaches between music genres.
Music genre; Creativity; Personality; Divergent thinking; Music learning
The extent to which individuals generally believe that they can successfully manage their emotions is related to healthy coping and well-being. Nevertheless, it is unclear how this general belief is related to daily affective experiences. In the current study, the relationship between global emotion control beliefs and daily affect reports across 56 days were assessed in a sample of 298 older adults. Results indicate that higher global emotion control beliefs were related to lower mean daily negative affect and higher mean daily positive affect. Additionally, variability analyses investigating multiple potential time scales revealed that global beliefs were related to lower variance in daily negative affect and less variable speeds of daily negative affect change across a range of time scales (from windows of 3 days to windows of approximately 2 weeks). Alternatively, global control beliefs were not significantly related to variance in daily positive affect or variance in speeds of daily positive affect change. Together, results suggest that global emotion control beliefs predict average experience of daily affect and variability in daily negative affect.
Emotion control; Daily emotions; Affect variability
International behavioral research requires instruments that are not culturally-biased to assess sensation seeking. In this study we described a culturally adapted version of the Brief Sensation Seeking Scale for Chinese (BSSS-C) and its psychometric characteristics. The adapted scale was assessed using an adult sample (n=238) with diverse educational and residential backgrounds. The BSSS-C (Cronbach alpha=0.90) was correlated with the original Brief Sensation Seeking Scale (r = 0.85, p<0.01) and fitted the four-factor model well (CFI=0.98, SRMR=0.03). The scale scores significantly predicted intention to and actual engagement in a number of health risk behaviors, including alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and sexual risk behaviors. In conclusion, the BSSS-C has adequate reliability and validity, supporting its utility in China and potential in other developing countries.
Sensation Seeking scale; Cross-cultural adaptation; Health Behavior; China
Risk taking behavior can be both adaptive and maladaptive depending on context. The majority of studies of risk taking, however, focus on clinical populations and dangerous or harmful risk taking. Individual differences in learning during risk taking are rarely examined in relation to task performance. The present study examined risk taking and associated outcomes in an exploration-based instrumental learning task (Balloon Emotional Learning Task; BELT), which presented a series of balloons in which participants pump up for points. Consistent with prior work, sensation seeking predicted increased risk taking behavior. Importantly, however, a significant interaction between sensation seeking and associative sensitivity, an attentional construct defined as the frequency and remoteness of automatic cognitive activity, was found. Specifically, among individuals high in sensation seeking, associative sensitivity predicted fewer balloon explosions and an increase in points earned on the balloon condition with the most potential feedback driven learning. Thus, these findings suggest that sensation seekers are a heterogeneous group, and secondary traits such as associative sensitivity moderate behavior such as risk taking and learning according to context.
The purpose of this study was to test perceptions of the social consequences of smoking as a mediator of the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and intentions to smoke cigarettes among youth. Upper elementary school students (N = 255, Mage = 10.9 years, 49% male) completed measures of EI, verbal intelligence, smoking-related intentions, past behavior, and perceived social consequences. Mediation was tested using the Sobel test. Perceived social consequences was a marginally significant mediator of the impact of total EI on intentions to smoke (Z = 1.91, p = .057). Follow-up analyses showed that perceived social consequences significantly mediated the effect of 2 EI abilities on smoking intentions: using emotions (Z = 2.02, p = .043) and managing emotions (Z = 2.28, p = .023). The results indicate that the role of higher EI in deterring smoking among youth may be related to social processing ability (i.e., greater perceptions of the negative social consequences of smoking). These findings contribute to a growing body of research demonstrating that EI may reduce cigarette smoking among youth by influencing their social perceptions.
Emotional intelligence; Smoking; Social perception; Children