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Relationship between depressive disorders and personality traits: the value of the alternative five factor model

Abstract

Many studies have examined the relationship between personality and depressive disorders. However, the findings have been heterogeneous and many gaps in current understanding of their links remain. To gain a deeper comprehension of the links between personality and depression, it might be advisable to focus on lower levels (traits) of the personality hierarchy. In this context, the present study aims: 1) to describe the personality profile of treatment-seeking outpatients diagnosed with depressive disorders by comparing them to a control group, and 2) to explore the specific contribution of the Alternative Five Factor Model in identifying outpatients diagnosed with depressive disorders. We used a case-control design and a sample of 315 adult participants. We tested for the clinical specificity of the dimensional personality profile, by randomly matching 105 cases with 210 controls from a general population sample. The clinical group scored higher than controls on Neuroticism-Anxiety and lower on Activity and Sociability. However, only high Neuroticism-Anxiety and low Activity discriminated both groups and were significantly associated with a diagnosis of depressive disorder. Results indicated that Neuroticism-Anxiety is closely related to a diagnosis of depression and it should be specifically addressed in the therapeutic process. Additionally, the activity trait is also associated with a reduced likelihood of being depressed; a finding that implies that psychological treatment ought to emphasize the importance of maintaining a high level of general activity in both the short and long run. Our results help to clarify current inconsistencies regarding the links between personality and depression.

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Correspondence to Irene Ramos-Grille.

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Ramos-Grille, I., Aragay, N., Valero, S. et al. Relationship between depressive disorders and personality traits: the value of the alternative five factor model. Curr Psychol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-020-01005-7

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Keywords

  • Personality
  • Depression
  • Dysthymic disorder
  • ZKPQ
  • AFFM