To study the effect of a controlled stressor on the rate of personality maturity.
Eighteen-month prospective controlled study.
Experimental: Exposed to the stress of 12 months' intercultural experience. Control: Remained in usual environment.
Main Outcome Measure:
A measure of personality vulnerability/maturity derived from a canonical correlational combination of trait anxiety, locus of control, and defense style.
Exchange students exposed to the stressor made significantly greater gains in personality maturity (0.28 vs 0.03 SD: P≤.01) than did the control students matched on this measure at baseline.
Exchange students exposed to the stress of living abroad showed a substantial decrease in vulnerability, which should decrease the risk of future neurotic disorders in this group
Gavin Andrews, Andrew C. Page, Megan Neilson. Sending Your Teenagers AwayControlled Stress Decreases Neurotic Vulnerability. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1993;50(7):585–589. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1993.01820190087009