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Open Access Research article

Personality dimensions of schizophrenia patients compared to control subjects by gender and the relationship with illness severity

Carmen Miralles, Yolanda Alonso, Begoña Verge, Sònia Setó, Ana M Gaviria, Lorena Moreno, María J Cortés, Alfonso Gutiérrez-Zotes, Elisabet Vilella and Lourdes Martorell*

Author Affiliations

Unitat de Psiquiatria, Hospital Universitari Psiquiàtric Institut Pere Mata, IISPV, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, CIBERSAM, C/ SantLlorenç, 21, 43201 Reus, Spain

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BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14:151  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-151

Published: 24 May 2014

Abstract

Background

Personality traits and schizophrenia present gender differences; however, gender has not been considered in most studies on personality and schizophrenia. This study aims to identify the different personality dimensions of schizophrenia patients and healthy control subjects by gender and to explore the relationship between personality dimensions and illness severity variables by analyzing data for males and females separately.

Methods

Temperament and Character Inventory-Revised dimensions were compared by gender between 161 schizophrenia patients and 214 healthy controls from a population-based sample using independent t-tests. We then investigated whether personality dimensions are related to illness severity variables using correlation analyses and bivariate logistic regression, also by gender.

Results

The patients had significantly higher scores for harm avoidance (HA) and self-transcendence (ST) and lower scores for reward dependence (RD), cooperativeness (C), and self-directedness (SD) than the controls. Similar results were obtained when the sample was stratified by gender, however the differences were higher and more significant for HA among males and for RD among females. The number of admissions to a psychiatric hospital positively correlated with novelty seeking (NS) in males and negatively with SD in females. In males, SD and ST negatively correlated with the number of suicide attempts.

Conclusions

Male and female patients present difficulties for regulating and adapting behavior to achieve goals (SD) and for identifying and accepting others (C), as well as a great sense of spirituality and universe identification (ST). However, male patients are more characterized by being fearful, doubtful and easily fatigued (HA), while female patients are characterized by presenting difficulties maintaining and pursuing associated reward behaviors (RD). Furthermore, male and female patients who are frequently admitted to psychiatric hospitals and male patients who attempt suicide should be evaluated regarding their personality dimensions. Future studies assessing the relationship between personality dimensions and the clinical features of schizophrenia should consider gender differences.

Keywords:
Schizophrenia; Personality dimensions; TCI-R; Gender; Illness severity