Comparative study of personality trait characteristics and reactivity in schizophrenia using a film clip paradigm

Thomas J. Dinzeo, Eve Sledjeski, Christopher Durner, Nancy M. Docherty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The empirical examination of personality characteristics related to the experience of strong negative emotions and the associated physiological response may help account for idiosyncratic responses to life events in schizophrenia. The current study examines the relationship between levels of neuroticism and arousability and physiological and emotional reactivity during the viewing of film clips with differing emotional valance. Data were collected on emotional and cardiovascular and cortisol reactivity across experimental conditions for a sample of outpatients diagnosed with schizophrenia and a comparison group of nonpsychiatric controls. levels of both neuroticism and arousability were significantly associated with increased negative emotion and physiological reactivity during the negative film clip task, although different patterns emerged across participant groups. Most notably, trait characteristics were inversely related to heart rate reactivity in patients but not controls. This relationship remained significant even after we controlled for disengagement coping behaviors. Cortisol response was not related to personality characteristics in either participant group. Findings were generally consistent with previous research, providing additional evidence for the role of trait characteristics in the response to events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-526
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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