Temperament and character traits in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder: A case-control study

Marcelo C. Zappitelli, Isabel A. Bordin, John P. Hatch, Sheila C. Caetano, Giovana Zunta-Soares, Rene L. Olvera, Jair C. Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To evaluate temperament and character traits using the Junior Temperament and Character Inventory (JTCI) in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) in comparison with healthy control subjects (HC), and to verify if comorbidity with disruptive behavioral disorders and being currently depressed influence JTCI scores. Methods: A case-control study comprising 41 MDD children/adolescents matched to 40 HC by gender and age (8-17 years). All participants were assessed diagnostically with the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia - Present and Lifetime (K-SADS-PL). Temperament and character traits were measured with the parent and child versions of JTCI, and depression was evaluated with the Children's Depression Rating Scale (CDRS). Results: According to child and parent data, MDD subjects had significantly higher scores on harm avoidance and novelty seeking, and lower scores on reward dependence, persistence, self-directedness and cooperativeness compared with HC. According to parent data only, MDD subjects significantly differed from HC on self-transcendence (lower spirituality scores and higher fantasy scores). Comorbidity with disruptive behavioral disorders exerted influence on almost all dimensions, in general increasing the mean differences between MDD and HC subjects. Also, being currently depressed did not influence the results, except for reward dependence according to parent data. Limitations: The cross-sectional nature of the study and its limited sample size. Conclusions: MDD children/adolescents have a different temperament and character profile compared to HC subjects. This study supports previous findings of trait-like characteristics of harm avoidance and self-directedness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-353
Number of pages8
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Volume54
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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