Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Longitudinally assessed biological correlates of personality and psychosocial dynamics in new university students
Author: Wawrzyniak, Andrew John
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2010
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
Personality traits and psychosocial factors can be dynamic when measured longitudinally; the higher education setting may influence trait stability and change. Furthermore, biological processes may be linked to trait and psychosocial factor development; specifically, immune functioning may be indicative of higher levels of stress. This study examined longitudinal associations between personality traits and psychosocial factors in first year university students. In the first phase of the study, 68 undergraduate students (27 men and 41 women) completed personality and psychosocial measures at four times during their first year of university, and provided three saliva samples to measure salivary secretory immunoglobulin-A (slgA) to determine immune functioning. A second cohort of first-year students (n = 187; 62 men and 125 women) only completed the personality and psychosocial measures. Across both samples, all of the Big Five traits (Neuroticism (N), Extraversion (E), Openness (O), Agreeableness (A), and Conscientiousness (C)) demonstrated at least moderate rank-order stability; A and C showed small meanlevel increases between the beginning of the second semester and exam time; overall personality trends did not concur with previous findings. Data on academic performance was also gathered. Greater mean-level variability and less rank-order stability were observed with the psychosocial measures as the students' time at university increased. Salivary slgA levels changed over the course of the year, with times of higher stress (beginning of the university semester and exam time) correlating with lower mucosal immunity. Linear growth curve modeling was used to represent the longitudinal data; end of first-year exam marks were significantly predicted by most of the trait and general psychosocial factors but not the university-specific factors; slgA release rate models were not significant with the measures in the present study. These results demonstrate varying degrees of change and stability in personality traits and psychosocial factors during the first year of university that, taken together, does not impact academic outcomes when examined on a developmental scale through longitudinal measurements. Immune functioning was related to periods of stress independent of stress perception and changes in psychosocial factors related to changes in mucosal immunity. Modeling of traits and psychosocial factors with immune functioning provides new insights into biopsychosocial dynamics operating in university students. Future studies may benefit from this work which emphasizes how longitudinally assessed traits and psychosocial factors can be dynamic and are linked to immune functioning.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available