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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews literature investigating the complex relationships between stress and personality disorders. Various forms of early life adversity, particularly experiences of abuse and neglect, portend the development of personality disorders and maladaptive personality traits later in life. Much of this association appears to be causal (i.e., independent of genetic risk). A comparatively much smaller literature suggests that acute stressful events later in development show complex interrelations with personality disorders. These connections appear to be bidirectional, such that not only does stress influence the development of personality, but personality also influences stress exposure. Additionally, personality traits influence the way in which individuals respond to stressors, both psychologically and physiologically. Our review concludes by underlining enduring methodological problems and conceptual issues that await resolution in future empirical work.

Keywords: stress, personality, personality disorders, stress generation, stress reactivity

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