Conscientiousness predicts greater recovery from negative emotion
Javaras, K. N., Schaefer, S. M., Van Reekum, C. M., Lapate, R. C., Greischar, L. L., Bachuber, D. R., Love, G. , Ryff, C. D. and Davidson, R. J. (2012) Conscientiousness predicts greater recovery from negative emotion. Emotion. ISSN 1931-1516 (In Press)
Greater levels of conscientiousness have been associated with lower levels of negative affect. We focus on one mechanism through which conscientiousness may decrease negative affect: effective emotion regulation, as reflected by greater recovery from negative stimuli. In 273 adults who were 35 - 85 years old, we collected self-report measures of personality including conscientiousness and its self-control facet, followed on average 2 years later by psychophysiological measures of emotional reactivity and recovery. Among middle-aged adults (35 - 65 years old), the measures of conscientiousness and self-control predicted greater recovery from, but not reactivity to, negative emotional stimuli. The effect of conscientiousness and self-control on recovery was not driven by other personality variables or by greater task adherence on the part of high conscientiousness individuals. In addition, the effect was specific to negative emotional stimuli and did not hold for neutral or positive emotional stimuli.