Prenatal Stress, Season of Birth, and Personality


Mark Richards

Date of Graduation

Spring 2002


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

James Davis


This study examined the relationship between prenatal risk factors and adult personality traits. Participants' season of birth and their mothers' reports of maternal prenatal stress (MPS) were compared with their scores on the NEO-PI-R, a personality inventory based on the five-factor model (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism). A significant main effect of season of birth was found, with participants born during the third quarter of the year scoring lower on measures of extraversion than those born during the first quarter. No significant relationships were found between season of birth and the remaining personality factors. A significant main effect of gender was found, with females reporting higher measures of both neuroticism and agreeableness. No significant interaction effect was found between gender and season of birth. A significant relationship was also found between ratings of openness and MPS, with higher levels of MPS associated with lower measures of openness. This relationship, however, did not reach statistical significance after alpha was adjusted using the Bonferonni correction. No significant relationships were found between MPS and the remaining personality factors. Implications, limitations, and directions for further research are discussed.

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© Mark Richards