Although it is well established that personality traits of patients with mental disorder differ significantly from the traits of other persons, differences in personality characteristics between different mental disorders have not been examined very thoroughly. In this study, we examine personality traits in a large sample of outpatients (N=640) with mood and anxiety disorders in differing patterns of comorbidity, using the five-factor model of personality. Mood and anxiety disorders were assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Inventory, and personality traits were assessed with the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Most of the mean scores on the NEO-FFI scales of the study population were found to be significantly different from the scale scores of the general population. Few differences between NEO-FFI scores for differing patterns of mood and anxiety disorders were found. However, clear differences were found for subjects with one (mood or anxiety) disorder, subjects with two, and subjects with three or more disorders. Neuroticism and agreeableness differed considerably in subjects with one disorder compared with subjects with two or more disorders. The main conclusion is that personality traits appear to be associated with comorbidity and less so with any specific disorder.

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Psychiatry Research
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Cuijpers, P., van Straten, A., & Donker, M. (2005). Personality traits of patients with mood and anxiety disorders. Psychiatry Research, 133(2-3), 229–237. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2004.10.006