Type D personality and the development of PTSD symptoms: a prospective study

J Abnorm Psychol. 2011 May;120(2):299-307. doi: 10.1037/a0021806.


Psychological trauma and prolonged stress may cause mental disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Pretrauma personality is an important determinant of posttraumatic adjustment. Specifically, trait neuroticism has been identified as a risk factor for PTSD. Additionally, the combination of high negative affectivity or neuroticism with marked social inhibition or introversion, also called Type D personality (Denollet, 2000), may compose a risk factor for PTSD. There is no research available that examined pretrauma Type D personality in relation to PTSD. The present study examined the predictive validity of the Type D personality construct in a sample of Dutch soldiers. Data were collected prior to and 6 months after military deployment to Afghanistan. Separate multiple regression analyses were performed to examine the predictive validity of Type D personality. First, Type D personality was defined as the interaction between negative affect and social inhibition (Na × Si). In a second analysis, Type D was defined following cutoff criteria recommended by Denollet (2000). Results showed that negative affectivity was a significant predictor of PTSD symptoms. Social inhibition and the interaction Na × Si did not add to the amount of explained variance in postdeployment PTSD scores over the effects of childhood abuse, negative affectivity, and prior psychological symptoms. A second analysis showed that Type D personality (dichotomous) did not add to the amount of explained variance in postdeployment PTSD scores over the effects of childhood abuse, and prior psychological symptoms. Therefore, Type D personality appears to be of limited value to explain development of combat-related PTSD symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Disease Susceptibility / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires