Neuroticism: Everything You Need to Know

One of the Big 5 personality characteristics, neuroticism, is often characterized as a propensity for worry, despair, self-doubt, and other unfavorable emotions. There is a range of all personality qualities, including neuroticism; some individuals have higher levels of neuroticism than others. Neuroticism is also referred to as poor emotional stability or negative emotionality in the context of the Big 5.

Some self-deprecating comedians and complainers proudly display their neuroticism. Still, in reality, those with neurotic tendencies are more likely to experience anxiety, mood disorders, and other negative social and emotional effects.

What Does It Mean to Be Neurotic?

Although many psychologists have described neuroticism slightly differently, it indicates a propensity for unfavorable feelings at its heart. The word is derived from the term “neurosis,” originally used to describe a persistent mental disorder.

A person’s degree of neuroticism may be determined through personality tests that ask participants to evaluate how often they worry, are easily disturbed, have frequent mood swings, are quickly annoyed, and frequently feel down in addition to other, comparable self-descriptions, with higher scores suggesting a greater degree of neuroticism. Some Big 5 organizational systems further subdivide the qualities into several sub-traits, including neuroticism. The most current Big 5 Inventory scale divides neuroticism (formerly known as Negative Emotionality) into three components, each of which reflects a propensity to feel certain ways:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • emotional volatility


How do I know if I’m a neurotic person?

If your neuroticism level is high (or low), you already know that to be the case. However, a Big 5 personality test can give you a more precise indication of how you rank on that attribute compared to others. Similar to other characteristics, most individuals fall somewhere in the center.

Is neuroticism a bad thing?

High neuroticism scores are linked to a higher risk of mental disease and, on average, fewer positive results on relationship and health satisfaction tests. However, it might be claimed that neuroticism persists because it offers benefits during human development (such as sensitivity to risks).

What causes neuroticism?

According to research, one’s degree of neuroticism, like other personality characteristics, is influenced by both heredity and (mostly unaccounted for) environmental factors.

How to Cope With Neuroticism

High levels of neuroticism might make it simple for a person to feel imprisoned by unhelpful thinking patterns and battle depression or anxiety.

Is there anything a person can do to lessen their neuroticism? According to research, personality characteristics may alter throughout a lifetime, especially after a significant life event like getting married or having a kid. However, one may use methods to better deal with neuroticism, regardless of whether someone naturally gets less neurotic over time.

Can neuroticism be cured?

Although neuroticism is a reasonably constant personality feature, it is nevertheless possible to identify and reduce one’s propensity for anxiety and suffering. One or more of the methods that may help someone manage stress and even reduce their degree of neuroticism is psychotherapy. Mindfulness exercises are another.

Does neuroticism decrease with age?

According to some research, neuroticism often declines as young individuals approach maturity. According to studies, some life events, such as a first romantic relationship and moving from high school to employment or college, are particularly associated with reductions in neuroticism.

Are there advantages to experiencing negative emotion?

Even if it is painful, many people’s rumination and remorse may, to a certain extent, help them learn from errors and change their future conduct. There is evidence that mild to severe depression may have comparable adaptive advantages.

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