Personality traits show differential relations with anxiety and depression in a nonclinical sample

Yusuke Takahashi*, Brent W. Roberts, Shinji Yamagata, Nobuhiko Kijima

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined how the personality traits of behavioral inhibition and behavioral activation contribute to the development of anxiety and depression. We used two-wave short-term longitudinal data from 319 students. Data collections were two months apart. Personality traits were assessed using Gray's Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory: Behavioral Inhibition and Activation Systems (BIS and BAS). After conirming simple correlations, hierarchical regressions were conducted to test how residual changes or unique variances in psychopathology were predicted by the personality traits. Findings revealed that high BIS sensitivity predicted both anxiety and depression, while low BAS sensitivity predicted only depression. These results suggest that hyperactive BIS functions as a predictor for general distress, and that hypoactive BAS functions as a unique predictor for depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • BAS
  • BIS
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression
  • Distinctiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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