Objective: The personality characteristics behavioural inhibition and neuroticism have been associated with mood and anxiety disorders and, in some studies, hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis hyperactivity. We recently reported that low levels of Novelty Seeking were associated with elevated plasma cortisol responses to the dexamethasone/corticotropin-releasing hormone (Dex/CRH) test in healthy adults with no psychiatric disorder. The present study tested the association between temperament and HPA axis function in the same group of subjects using a standardized psychosocial neuroendocrine stress test.
Method: Subjects completed diagnostic interviews, questionnaires, and the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST).
Results: Novelty Seeking was inversely associated with plasma cortisol concentrations at baseline and throughout the TSST, but was not related to adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) levels.
Conclusion: Results of this study extend our previous finding in the Dex/CRH test to a psychosocial stress test. Future investigations are needed to replicate these findings and further elucidate how temperament and personality are linked to HPA function.