Towards understanding interindividual differences in stressor appraisals: a systematic review

Christopher J. Kilby*, Kerry A. Sherman, Viviana Wuthrich

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: This paper aims to systematically review and synthesize existing empirical evidence examining the factors related to interindividual differences in stressor appraisals (i.e., perceived challenge and threat). Method: Studies were identified in PsycINFO, Scopus, Psychological and Behavioral Sciences Collection, and Medline databases (1980-March 2017). Only empirical studies assessing constructs theorized to influence stressor appraisals were included. Results: Of the 1956 identified articles, 11 studies reported in 12 articles assessing six constructs met inclusion criteria: Emotional intelligence, Big Five personality traits, anxiety, stress mindset, just world beliefs, and perfectionism. Stronger challenge appraisals were associated with higher emotional intelligence, lower neuroticism, higher extraversion, and more positive beliefs about the consequences of feeling stressed. Weaker threat appraisals were associated with lower neuroticism, and higher emotional intelligence, agreeableness, extraversion, and openness, stronger beliefs that the world is a just and fair place, and lower perfectionistic concerns and greater perfectionistic striving. Anxiety was unrelated to appraisals. Conclusion: This review identified factors associated with interindividual differences in stressor appraisals, with some factors related to challenge appraisal but not threat appraisal, and vice versa. This suggests a potentially complex interplay between personality and appraisals.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)92-100
    Number of pages9
    JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


    • stress
    • stressor appraisal
    • primary appraisal
    • challenge appraisal
    • threat appraisal
    • transactional model of stress
    • emotional intelligence
    • personality


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