Premorbid personality in patients with uni- and bipolar affective disorders and controls: assessment by the Biographical Personality Interview (BPI)

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The relationship between premorbid personality and subtypes of affective disorder was investigated by means of the Biographical Personality Interview (BPI) and by a self-rating scale. Interview and rater (BPI) were blind to diagnosis. A total of 52 patients with unipolar depression or bipolar II disorder (D/Dm), 32 bipolar-I patients (DM) and 39 control subjects (C) were examined. Expert rating of “typus melancholicus” features (BPI) were found to be more pronounced in D/Dm than in DM and C. “Typus manicus” features were also distinguished between both clinical groups, whereas anxious-insecure features were not significantly different between the groups of patients. In contrast to the expert-rated personality variants, self-rating of personality features did not reveal any significant differences between the two clinical groups. Potential sources of the discrepancies between the questionnaire data and the interview data are discussed. It is concluded that premorbid features of “typus manicus” and “typus melancholicus” predicted, respectively, a predominant manic and a predominant depressive course of an affective disorder.