Personality and Parental Bonding in Stress Reactivity and Chronic Stress

  • Elizabet Orekhova

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Background: The main aim of the present research was to investigate the individual differences in personality, parental bonding, and stress reactivity in order to explain the underlying mechanisms that may sustain chronic stress. In light of the central role of both personal and social factors in shaping one’s experiences as identified by the previous literature, the present study sought to investigate how these aspects interrelate within the framework of chronic stress. It was hypothesised that chronic stress may be the result of maladaptive patterns of interaction between personal and social dispositions in stress processing.
Method: The participants included a student and a community sample. Levels of chronic stress, stress reactivity, personality traits, and parental bonding experiences were assessed through self-reported questionnaires. Hypotheses: There were three models of chronic stress conceptualised and tested – general, social, and achievement. The defining features of the general model included parental bonding (affection and control) and personality dispositions. Affection in parental bonding, agreeableness, extraversion, and emotional stability comprised the social model of chronic stress. On the other hand, controlling bonding, extraversion, emotional stability, and conscientiousness were the defining elements of the achievement model of chronic stress. Interaction effects and structural pathways were examined for each of the models through regression analyses and structural equation modelling.
Results: The findings included significant interaction effects among the variables of parental bonding and personality as well as idiosyncratic pathway structures for each model. The results were discussed with regard to clinical implications. Discussion: It was concluded that an effective direction for therapeutic work with regard to chronic stress would target stress reactivity by addressing the mismatch between personal and social dispositions. These individual dispositions suggested several focal points for more precise and effective therapeutic interventions.
Date of Award2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorRobert Edelmann (Supervisor) & Joel Vos (Supervisor)

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