Intelligence and temperament as protective factors for mental health. A cross-sectional and prospective epidemiological study

  • Marianne Cederblad
  • Lisa Dahlin
  • Olle Hagnell
  • Kjell Hansson
Original Paper


The Sjöbring system of personality dimensions measuring intellectual capacity, activity, impulsivity and sociability was used to study possible “salutogenic” (i.e. causes of health) effects. The study comprised 590 subjects investigated in 1947, 1957, 1972 and 1988–1989 in the Lundby project, an epidemiological study in Sweden. Psychiatric diagnoses were made in 1947, 1957 and 1972. Mental health was estimated in 1988–1989 using the concept “love well, work well, play well and expect well”. The Sjöbring dimensions were clinically assessed in 1972. Both in the concurrent study in 1972 and in the prospective study in 1988–1989 “super capacity” (high intellectual function), “super validity” (high activity level) and “super solidity” (low impulsivity) were statistically associated with lower frequencies of certain psychiatric diagnoses and a higher frequency of positive mental health. These variables are proposed to increase coping capacity, and therefore increase stress resilience.

Key words

Lundby study “Salutogenic” Temperament Mental health Intelligence 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anthony EJ (1974) The syndrome of the psychologically invulnerable child. In Anthony EJ, Koupernik C (eds) The child in his family, vol 3. John Wiley, New York, pp 529–544Google Scholar
  2. Antonovsky A (1987) Unraveling the mystery of health. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  3. Armelius BÅ (1985) Health sickness rating scale. Swedish version. Dept. of Applied Psychology, University of UmeåGoogle Scholar
  4. Armelius BÅ, Gerin P, Luborsky L (1985) Clinicians' judgement of mental health: an international validation of HSRS. DAPS: report no. 13, University of UmeåGoogle Scholar
  5. Buss AH, Plomin R (1984) Temperament: early developing personality traits. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Hillsdale, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  6. Cederblad M, Dahlin L, Hagnell O (1988) Do child psychiatric risk factors affect the mental health of the adult? Läkartidningen 85(49):4317–4321 (in Swedish)Google Scholar
  7. Cederblad M, Dahlin L, Hagnell O, Hansson K (1994) Salutogenic childhood factors reported by middle-aged individuals. Followup of the children from the Lundby study grown up in families experiencing three or more childhood psychiatric risk factors. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 244:1–11Google Scholar
  8. Cloninger CR, Sigvardsson S, Bohman M (1988) Childhood personality predicts alcohol abuse in young adults. Alcoholism: clinical and experimental research. 12(4):494–505Google Scholar
  9. Cloninger CR, Przybeck TR, Svrakic DM (1991) The tridimensional personality questionnaire: U.S. normative data. Psychol Rep 69:1047–1057Google Scholar
  10. Cloninger CR, Svrakic DM, Przybeck TR (1992) Mature character development as a process of identification: relations of demographics and temperament to character. Mim Washington University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. St. Louis, Mo.Google Scholar
  11. Cloninger CR, Svrakic DM, Przybeck TR (1993) A psychobiological model of temperament and character. Arch Gen Psychiatry 50:975–990Google Scholar
  12. Dahlin L, Cederblad M (1986) Salutogenesis-protective factors for individuals brought up in a high-risk environment with regard to the risk for a psychiatric or social disorder. Nord J Psychiatry 47:53–60 (in Swedish)Google Scholar
  13. Dahlin L, Cederblad M, Antonovsky A, Hagnell O (1990) Childhood vulnerability and adult invincibility. Acta Psychiatr Scand 82:228–232Google Scholar
  14. Derogatis LR, Lipman RS, Covi L (1973) SCL-90: an outpatient psychiatric rating scale. Psychopharmacol Bull 9:13–28Google Scholar
  15. Derogatis LR, Lipman RS, Cleary PA (1977) Confirmation of the dimensional structure of the SCL-90. A study in construct validity. J Clin Psychol 33:981–989Google Scholar
  16. Essen-Möller E (1980) The psychology and psychiatry of Henrik Sjöbring (1879–1956). Psychol Med 10:201–210Google Scholar
  17. Essen-Möller E (1986) Individual traits and morbility in a circumscribed population: the cross-sectional beginnings of a longitudinal study. In: Barrett JE, Rose RM (eds) Mental disorders in the community. Guilford Press, New York, pp 77–88Google Scholar
  18. Essen-Möller E, Hagnell O (1975) “Normal” and “lesional” traits of personality according to Sjöbring: re-ratings and prognostic implications. Neuropsychobiology 1:146–154Google Scholar
  19. Essen-Möller E, Larsson H, Uddenberg CE, White G (1956) Individual traits and morbidity in a Swedish rural population. Ejnar Munksgaard, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  20. Garmezy N (1981) Children under stress: perspective on antecedents and correlates of vulnerability and resistance to psychopathology. In: Rabin AI, Aronoff J, Parclay AN Zucker RA (eds) Further explorations in personality. John Wiley, New York, pp 196–269Google Scholar
  21. Garmezy N, Rutter M (1983) Stress, coping and development in children. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Hagnell O (1966) A prospective study of the incidence of mental disorder. Svenska bokförlaget Norstedts-Bonniers, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  23. Hagnell O, Lanke J, Rorsman B, Öhman R (1986) Predictors of alcoholism in the Lundby study. Eur Arch Psychiatry Neurol Sci 235:192–196Google Scholar
  24. Hagnell O, Essen-Möller E, Lanke J, Öjesjö L, Rorsman B (1990) The incidence of mental illness over a quarter of a century. Almqvist and Wiksell International, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  25. Hagnell O, Franck A, Gräsbeck A, Öhman R, Otterbeck L, Rorsman B (1992) Senile dementia of the Alzheimer type in the Lundby study. Eur Arch Psychiatry Neurol Sci 241:231–235Google Scholar
  26. Holahan CJ, Moos RH (1990) Life stressors, resistance factors, and improved psychological functioning: an extension of the stress resistance paradigm. J Pers Soc Psychol 58(5):909–917Google Scholar
  27. Kajandi M, Brattlöf L, Söderlind A (1983) Quality of life. Reliability tests of an instrument. Department of Psychology, Research Clinic, Ulleråkers Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden (in Swedish)Google Scholar
  28. Leighton DC, Harding JS, Macklin DB, MacMillan AM, Leighton AH (1963) The character of danger. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Leighton DC, Hagnell O, Leighton AH (1971) Psychiatric disorder in a Swedish and a Canadian community: an exploratory study. Soc Sci Med 5:189–209Google Scholar
  30. Luborsky L (1975) Clinicians judgement of mental health: specimen case descriptions and forms for the health-sickness rating scale. Bull Menninger Clin 39:448–480Google Scholar
  31. Luthar SS (1993) Annotation: methodological and conceptual issues in research on childhood resilience. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 34(4):441–453Google Scholar
  32. Nyman GE (1956) Variations in personality. A multidimensional study on a series of 300 healthy, 20-year-old Swedish army men. Berlingska boktryckeriet, LundGoogle Scholar
  33. Offord DRV (1974) School performance of adult schizophrenics, their siblings and agemates. Br J Psychiatry 125:12–19Google Scholar
  34. Rutter M (1979) Protective factors in children's responses to stress and disadvantage. In: Kent MM, Rolf J (eds) Primary prevention of psychopathology, vol 3: social competence in children. University Press of New England, Hannover, New Hampshire, pp 49–74Google Scholar
  35. Rutter M, Cox A, Tupling C, Berger M, Yule W (1975a) Attainment and adjustment in two geographical areas. I. The prevalence of psychiatric disorder. Br J Psychiatry 126:493–509Google Scholar
  36. Rutter M, Yule B, Quinton D, Rowlands O, Yule W, Berger M (1975b) Attainment and adjustment in two geographical areas III. Some factors accounting for area differences. Br J Psychiatry 126:520–533Google Scholar
  37. Sjöbring H (1973) Personality structure and development. A model and its application. Acta Psychiatr Scand (Suppl):244Google Scholar
  38. Thomas A, Chess S (1977) Temperament and development. Brunner/Mazel Publishers, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  39. Thomas A, Chess S, Birch HG (1968) Temperament and behavior disorders in children. University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  40. Vaillant GE, Vaillant CO (1990) Natural history of male psychological health, XII: a 45-year study of predictors of successful aging at age 65. Am J Psychiatry 147(1):31–37Google Scholar
  41. Werner EE, Smith RS (1982) Vulnerable but invincible: a longitudinal study of resilient children and youth. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  42. Werner EE (1985) Stress and protective factors in childrens' lives. In: Nicol AR (ed) Longitudinal studies in child psychology and psychiatry. John Wiley, New York, pp 335–356Google Scholar
  43. Werner EE (1989) High-risk children in young adulthood: a longitudinal study from birth to 32 years. Am J Orthopsychiatry 59(1):72–81Google Scholar
  44. Werner EE, Smith RS (1992) Overcoming the odds. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  45. Wertlieb D, Weigel C, Springer T, Feldstein M (1987) Temperament as a moderator of children's stressful experiences. Am J Orthopsychiatry 57(2):234–245Google Scholar
  46. White BC (1985) The first three years of life. Prentice Hall, Englewood cliffs, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  47. Wilkinson L, Hill MA, Vang E (1992) Statistics. Systat Inc., Evanston, IllinoisGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marianne Cederblad
    • 1
  • Lisa Dahlin
    • 1
  • Olle Hagnell
    • 2
  • Kjell Hansson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Child and Youth PsychiatryLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryLund UniversityLundSweden

Personalised recommendations