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Personality traits in bipolar disorder and influence on outcome.

Journal article
Authors Timea Sparding
Erik Pålsson
Erik Joas
Stefan Hansen
Mikael Landén
Published in BMC psychiatry
Volume 17
Issue 1
ISSN 1471-244X
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Department of Psychology
Language en
Subject categories Psychiatry


The aim was to investigate the personality profile of bipolar disorder I and II, and healthy controls, and to study whether personality influences the course of bipolar disorder.One hundred ten patients with bipolar disorder I, 85 patients with bipolar disorder II, and 86 healthy individuals had their personality profile assessed using the Swedish universities Scales of Personality (SSP), an instrument developed to explore personality-related vulnerabilities and correlates of psychiatric disorders. Patients were followed prospectively for 2 years. To assess the impact of Neuroticism, Aggressiveness, and Disinhibition on illness course, we performed logistic regressions with the outcome variables mood episodes (depressive, hypo/manic, mixed), suicide attempts, violence, and the number of sick leave days.Bipolar disorder I and II demonstrated higher global measures of Neuroticism, Aggressiveness, and Disinhibition as compared with healthy controls. A third of the patients scored ≥1 SD above the population-based normative mean on the global neuroticism measure. The two subtypes of bipolar disorder were, however, undistinguishable on all of the personality traits. In the unadjusted model, higher neuroticism at baseline predicted future depressive episodes and suicide attempts/violent behavior, but this association disappeared when adjusting for baseline depressive symptoms as assessed with MADRS.A significant minority of the patients scored ≥1 SD above the population mean on the global measures of Neuroticism, Aggressiveness and Disinhibition; scores this high are usually evident clinically. Yet, the personality profile does not seem to have prognostic value over a 2-year period.

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