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

Alessandra Minelli1, *, Laura Pedrini2, Laura Rosa Magni2, Alessandro Rotondo3
1 Genetic Unit, I.R.C.C.S. “San Giovanni di Dio” - Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy
2 Psychiatric Unit, I.R.C.C.S. “San Giovanni di Dio” - Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy
3 Department of Psychiatry, Neurobiology, Pharmacology, and Biotechnology. University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

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© Minelli et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Genetic Unit, I.R.C.C.S. “San Giovanni di Dio” – Fatebenefratelli, Via Pilastroni, 4 – 25123 Brescia, Italy. Tel.: +39 030 3501596; Fax: +39 030 3533513; E-mail:


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.