Coping styles vary with species’ sociality and life history: A systematic review and meta-regression analysis

Renée A. Duckworth, Kathryn C. Chenard, Lexis Meza, Maria Carolina Beiriz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Despite a long history of animal studies investigating coping styles, the causal connections between behavior and stress physiology remain unclear. Consistency across taxa in effect sizes would support the idea of a direct causal link maintained by either functional or developmental dependencies. Alternatively, lack of consistency would suggest coping styles are evolutionarily labile. Here, we investigated correlations between personality traits and baseline and stress-induced glucocorticoid levels using a systematic review and meta-analysis. Most personality traits did not consistently vary with either baseline or stress-induced glucocorticoids. Only aggression and sociability showed a consistent negative correlation with baseline glucocorticoids. We found that life history variation affected the relationship between stress-induced glucocorticoid levels and personality traits, especially anxiety and aggression. The relationship between anxiety and baseline glucocorticoids depended on species’ sociality with solitary species showing more positive effect sizes. Thus, integration between behavioral and physiological traits depends on species’ sociality and life history and suggests high evolutionary lability of coping styles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105241
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Boldness
  • Fear
  • Glucocorticoid
  • HPA axis
  • Personality
  • Stress response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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