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, 11 (4), e0154140

Direct and Indirect Effects of Five Factor Personality and Gender on Depressive Symptoms Mediated by Perceived Stress


Direct and Indirect Effects of Five Factor Personality and Gender on Depressive Symptoms Mediated by Perceived Stress

Song E Kim et al. PLoS One.

Erratum in


This study was designed to investigate associations among five factor personality traits, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms and to examine the roles of personality and perceived stress in the relationship between gender and depressive symptoms. The participants (N = 3,950) were part of a cohort study for health screening and examination at the Kangbuk Samsung Hospital. Personality was measured with the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R). Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Perceived stress level was evaluated with a self-reported stress questionnaire developed for the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. A higher degree of neuroticism and lower degrees of extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness were significantly associated with greater perceived stress and depressive symptoms. Neuroticism and extraversion had significant direct and indirect effects (via stress as a mediator) on depressive symptoms in both genders. Agreeableness and conscientiousness had indirect effects on depression symptoms in both genders. Multiple mediation models were used to examine the mediational roles of each personality factor and perceived stress in the link between gender and depressive symptoms. Four of the personality factors (except openness) were significant mediators, along with stress, on the relationship between gender and depressive symptoms. Our findings suggest that the links between personality factors and depressive symptoms are mediated by perceived stress. As such, personality is an important factor to consider when examining the link between gender and depression.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Fig 1
Fig 1. Multiple mediation model.
The relationships between gender (IV, independent variable) and depressive symptoms (DV, dependent variable) mediated by each personality factor (M1, mediator 1) and stress (M2, mediator 2). Path a1 represents the effect of IV on M1, and path a2 represents the effect of IV on M2. Path a3 is the effect of M1 on M2. Path b1 and b2 represent M1 and M2 on DV, respectively. Path c represents the total effect of IV on DV, and path c’ is the direct effect of IV on DV.
Fig 2
Fig 2. The association between gender and depressive symptoms with each pathway in the multiple mediation model.
The pathways represented by arrows correspond to Fig 1. Each arrow with a solid line represents the significant path between variables, and the arrow with a dashed line represents the non-significant path. The path estimation from the mediation analysis shown with each arrow is the unstandardized coefficient. Note. Gender was coded 0 = man, 1 = women; N, neuroticism; E, extraversion; O, openness to experience; A, agreeableness; C, conscientiousness; n.s., non-significant; *p<0.01, **p<0.001.

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Grant support

This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea, funded by the Ministry of Education ( and Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning ( The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.