Personality Traits and Changes in Depression Symptoms in Female University Students

  • Jasminka Bobić Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Croatia
  • Adrijana Koscec Bjelajac Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Croatia
  • Marija Bakotić Stadtwerkeprojekt-Spectrum Arbeit Beruf Soziales, Germany
  • Jelena Macan Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Croatia
Keywords: depression symptoms, Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, female students, neuroticism, Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale


The present study aimed to investigate the course of symptoms of depression in female university students over a four-year period, while also exploring the predictive value of four personality traits with regard to symptoms of depression. The sample comprised 74 female first-year university students. Symptoms of depression were assessed using the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale and were collected twice over a four-year interval, while the personality traits of extraversion, neuroticism, psychoticism and lie tendencies were assessed by the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire only at the baseline. The results revealed that after a four-year period the depression symptoms increased in intensity/frequency on 10 out of 20 items as well as in the summary score, and decreased only in diurnal variations, which wasfavourable outcome. Multiple regression analysis indicated that out of the four personality traits only neuroticism was a significant predictor of the summary depression score four years later. This means that young female students with higher scores in neuroticism, although still in the normal or average range, would very probably have a more pronounced and less well-regulated emotional response to a stressful period of their university education.


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