The Tripartite Model of Neuroticism and the Suppression of Depression and Anxiety Within an Escalation of Commitment Dilemma


  • Grant N00014-96-1-0983 from the Cognitive and Neural Sciences Division of the Office of Naval Research supported this research. Although support for this work is gratefully acknowledged, the ideas expressed herein are those of the authors and not necessarily endorsed by the funding agency.

concerning this article may be sent to: Henry Moon Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-1815. (301) 405-4708.


We found evidence of a mutual suppression effect between anxiety and depression on an individual's level of commitment within escalation dilemmas. On the one hand, our results demonstrate a positive relationship between anxiety and level of commitment; on the other, our results demonstrate a negative relationship between depression and level of commitment. Based on the opposing relationships between anxiety and depression and commitment, the broad factor of neuroticism does not demonstrate any relationship with level of commitment, and the significant effects of anxiety and depression on commitment is contingent upon partialling the effect of the other facet of neuroticism. Thus, we contend that applied psychologists, who have focused on neuroticism as a broad construct, should consider the large body of work among clinical psychologists, who argue that anxiety and depression have unique variance associated with them. We conclude by addressing organizational implications of measuring the broad trait of neuroticism more narrowly.