LONDON, ONT. -- Researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson) are receiving $40,000 from Veterans Affairs Canada to study the role of personality traits in relation to the mental health of veterans.

The research will look at whether an individual's personality traits will serve as risk or protective factors for a veteran developing mental health disorders.

Some traits to be researched included include openness, agreeableness, emotionality, honesty-humility, conscientiousness, extraversion, and resiliency.

“Past research has identified some risk factors, including history of childhood trauma, age, gender, and education. However, no one to date has investigated the role that personality traits might play in Veterans’ symptoms of mental health conditions,” said Dr. Rachel Plouffe with Lawson.

“Our Veterans give a lot to serve and protect, so it is our duty as researchers and clinicians to find ways that we can better serve them,” added Dr. Don Richardson, also with Lawson.

The researchers will look at the relationship between these personality traits, exposure to stressful experiences during military operations, and mental health outcomes through data provided by 500 veterans.

The hope is to see if the information can be used to predict levels of potential depression, anxiety, and PTSD in an individual.

“With the findings from our research, military organizations and mental health treatment centres could use the information from this study to predict which patients may be at greater risk of developing mental health disorders, and provide tailored treatment for these individuals,” said Plouffe.