Typus melancholicus in light of the five-factor model of personality

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Abstract

The present paper examines Typus melancholicus (TM), which is widely accepted as premorbid personality of depression in Germany and Japan, from the viewpoint of the five-factor model of personality, which has recently been gaining international popularity as the comprehensive model of personality traits. Two measures of TM, von Zerssen’s F-list and Kasahara’s scale, as well as the personality questionnaire for the five-factor model, NEO Five Factor Inventory, were completed for 140 consecutive psychiatric outpatients by their close relatives. It was found that (a) the two measures of TM had good internal consistency reliability, (b) they had reasonable concurrent validity, and (c) TM was characterized by high Conscientiousness, high Agreeableness and, to a lesser degree, high Extraversion. The results were largely in agreement with theoretical prediction and provide further support to the construct validity of the TM measures. Whether combining the three personality traits into one type is meaningful in depicting a particular premorbid personality constellation awaits further empirical examination.

Received: 24 April 1997 / Accepted: 12 December 1997