The purpose of the present study was to investigate the associations between personality facets and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functioning. Previous studies have mainly focussed on stress-induced HPA-axis activation. We hypothesized that other characteristics of HPA-axis functioning would have a stronger association with personality based on the neuroendocrine literature. Data (n = 343) were used from the TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS), a large prospective cohort study of Dutch adolescents. We studied the association between facets of Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Conscientiousness and basal cortisol, the cortisol awakening response (CAR), and four measures of stress-induced HPA-axis activity. Basal cortisol levels were related to facets of all three personality traits. The CAR and stress-induced cortisol were not related to personality. Possibly due to its more trait-like nature, basal cortisol seems more informative than stress-induced cortisol when investigating trait-like characteristics such as personality facets.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.