Premorbid personality traits of men who develop unipolar or bipolar disorders

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Summary

In 1972, all Swiss males in the Canton of Zurich who reported for a compulsory medical examination for selection for military service were given the Freiburg Personality Inventory. This was repeated in half the sample on three subsequent occasions. From 1983 to 1988, an effort was made to identify all male psychiatric cases. There were 99 unipolars and 26 bipolars. The unipolars who had their age of onset after the personality testing displayed elevated scores on a constellation of symptoms labelled autonomic lability which consisted of items that correlated highly with neuroticism. The trait endured even when it was retested at age 36 years. The bipolars did not differ from the controls in any respect on any occasion.