Personality Traits in an Italian Sample: Relationship with Anxiety and Depression

Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health 22 December 2009 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1745017900905010026


Personality traits provide a description of individual emotional and cognitive processes that modulate thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Few studies have investigated the relationship of personality traits with depression and anxiety in the general Italian population. The aim of the present study was to replicate previous evidences about the association of personality traits with anxiety and depression in a general Italian population sample.

We recruited 418 volunteers through different sources; such as university, newspaper advertisement, hospital, and elderly association. 327 subjects accepted to participate to the study and were screened with the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.) in order to assess DSM-IV Axis I disorders and with the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) in order to measure personality traits.

Based on the assessment made by the MINI, the whole sample consisted of 266 (81%) subjects without and 61 subjects (19%) with life-time DSM-IV Axis I disorders. Volunteers with life-time anxiety and depressive disorders showed high scores in Harm Avoidance as well as low scores in Self-Directedness and in the Novelty Seeking subscale “Exploratory Excitability”.

Our results support previous evidences showing that personality traits, in particular Harm Avoidance and Self-Directedness, could represent markers of vulnerability for depression and anxiety disorders.

Keywords: Personality traits, TCI, Depression, Anxiety.
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