Addressing Neuroticism in Psychological Treatment

Shannon Sauer-Zavala, Julianne G. Wilner, David H. Barlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Neuroticism has long been associated with psychopathology and there is increasing evidence that this trait represents a shared vulnerability responsible for the development and maintenance of a range of common mental disorders. Given that neuroticism may be more malleable than previously thought, targeting this trait in treatment, rather than its specific manifestations (e.g., anxiety, mood, and personality disorders), may represent a more efficient and cost-effective approach to psychological treatment. The goals of the current manuscript are to (a) review the role of neuroticism in the development of common mental disorders, (b) describe the evidence of its malleability, and (c) review interventions that have been explicitly developed to target this trait in treatment. Implications for shifting the focus of psychological treatment to underlying vulnerabilities, such as neuroticism, rather than on the manifest symptoms of mental health conditions, are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-198
Number of pages8
JournalPersonality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Psychological Association.


  • Neuroticism
  • temperament
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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