Relationships between personality and unipolar depression
background Depression and personality may influence each other, but how is insufficiently known. Multidimensional personality models have appeared to be useful to study these relations.
aims To evaluate investigations of the nature of these relations in each personality dimension.
methods By using the search command 'depressive disorder and personality inventory or personality test' we selected articles from Medline. Results from retrospective and prospective studies were compared.
results Neuroticism and related dimensions are centrally involved in the relationships between personality and depression. Neuroticism enhances the vulnerability for depression and may be increased during an episode. High neuroticism has also a negative influence on remission rate. These three relationships combined result in a negative spiral effect. Moreover, in the melancholic subtype neuroticism negatively predicts long-term outcome. Next to neuroticism high rigidity and self-criticism may increase the risk of depression, which combined with neuroticism results in a stress-enhancing dynamic. A type of extraversion promotes the remission rate, while another type may be decreased during depression and may even remain decreased afterwards. Whether interpersonal dependency enhances the intensity of the depression or results from the severity of a depression is not clear. Decreased frustration tolerance may occur after a depressive episode.
conclusions Multidimensional personality tests may be useful in clinical practice and research.