Temperament and character traits in patients with bipolar disorder and associations with comorbid alcoholism or anxiety disorders

Fabiano G. Nery, John P. Hatch, David C. Glahn, Mark A. Nicoletti, E. Serap Monkul, Pablo Najt, Manoela Fonseca, Charles L. Bowden, C. Robert Cloninger, Jair C. Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Temperament and character traits may determine differences in clinical presentations and outcome of bipolar disorder. We compared personality traits in bipolar patients and healthy individuals using the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) and sought to verify whether comorbidity with alcoholism or anxiety disorders is associated with specific personality traits. Seventy-three DSM-IV bipolar patients were compared to 63 healthy individuals using the TCI. In a second step, the bipolar sample was subgrouped according to the presence of psychiatric comorbidity (alcoholism, n = 10; anxiety disorders; n = 23; alcoholism plus anxiety disorders, n = 21; no comorbidity, n = 19). Bipolar patients scored statistically higher than the healthy individuals on novelty seeking, harm avoidance and self-transcendence and lower on self-directedness and cooperativeness. Bipolar patients with only comorbid alcoholism scored statistically lower than bipolar patients without any comorbidity on persistence. Bipolar patients with only comorbid anxiety disorders scored statistically higher on harm avoidance and lower on self-directedness than bipolar patients without any comorbidity. Limitations of this study include the cross-sectional design and the small sample size, specifically in the analysis of the subgroups. However, our results suggest that bipolar patients exhibit a different personality structure than healthy individuals and that presence of psychiatric comorbidity in bipolar disorder is associated with specific personality traits. These findings suggest that personality, at least to some extent, mediates the comorbidity phenomena in bipolar disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-577
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume42
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008

Keywords

  • Alcoholism
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Comorbidity
  • Personality
  • Psychopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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