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Concept: Temperament and Character Inventory


OBJECTIVES: To evaluate temperament and character traits using the Junior Temperament and Character Inventory (JTCI) in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) in comparison with healthy control subjects (HC), and to verify if comorbidity with disruptive behavioral disorders and being currently depressed influence JTCI scores. METHODS: A case-control study comprising 41 MDD children/adolescents matched to 40 HC by gender and age (8-17years). All participants were assessed diagnostically with the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia - Present and Lifetime (K-SADS-PL). Temperament and character traits were measured with the parent and child versions of JTCI, and depression was evaluated with the Children’s Depression Rating Scale (CDRS). RESULTS: According to child and parent data, MDD subjects had significantly higher scores on harm avoidance and novelty seeking, and lower scores on reward dependence, persistence, self-directedness and cooperativeness compared with HC. According to parent data only, MDD subjects significantly differed from HC on self-transcendence (lower spirituality scores and higher fantasy scores). Comorbidity with disruptive behavioral disorders exerted influence on almost all dimensions, in general increasing the mean differences between MDD and HC subjects. Also, being currently depressed did not influence the results, except for reward dependence according to parent data. LIMITATIONS: The cross-sectional nature of the study and its limited sample size. CONCLUSIONS: MDD children/adolescents have a different temperament and character profile compared to HC subjects. This study supports previous findings of trait-like characteristics of harm avoidance and self-directedness.

Concepts: Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder, Major depressive disorder, Seasonal affective disorder, Types of psychological depression, Rating scale, Temperament and Character Inventory, Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire


Whether psychological factors such as anxiety and pain catastrophizing levels influence the expression of endogenous analgesia in general and, more specifically, the conditioned pain modulation (CPM) response is still under debate. It may be assumed that other psychological characteristics also play a role in the CPM response. The neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are involved both in CPM, as well as personality traits such as harm avoidance (HA), novelty seeking (NS), and reward dependence (RD), which can be obtained by the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ). However, the associations between these traits (HA, NS, and RD) with endogenous analgesia revealed by CPM have not yet been explored.

Concepts: Psychology, Neurotransmitter, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Neuroticism, Temperament and Character Inventory, Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire, Reward dependence


Cigarette cravings following exposure to smoking cues in a smoker’s environment are thought to play an important role in cessation failure. The possibility that dispositional factors may impact cue-induced cravings, though intriguing, has received little attention. According to Cloninger’s Tridimensional Personality Theory, factors such as reward dependence (RD), harm avoidance (HA), and novelty seeking (NS) may figure prominently in risk for addiction, as well as relapse, in individuals attempting to abstain from drug and alcohol use. Particularly interesting in this regard is the possibility that smokers with higher levels of RD, who are especially sensitive to reward signals, will have heightened craving reactions to smoking cues.

Concepts: Psychology, Smoking, Nicotine, Drug addiction, Addiction, Temperament and Character Inventory, Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire, Reward dependence


Novelty seeking has been tied to impulsive choice and biased value based choice. It has been postulated that novel stimuli should trigger more vigorous approach and exploration. However, it is unclear whether stimulus novelty can enhance simple motor actions in the absence of explicit reward, a necessary condition for energizing approach and exploration in an entirely unfamiliar situation. In this study human subjects were cued to omit or perform actions in form of button presses by novel or familiar images. We found that subjects' motor actions were faster when cued by a novel compared to a familiar image. This facilitation by novelty was strongest when the delay between cue and action was short, consistent with a link between novelty and impulsive choices. The facilitation of reaction times by novelty was correlated across subjects with trait novelty seeking as measured in the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire. However, this li between high novelty-seeking and action facilitation was driven by trials with a long delay between cue and action. This prolonged time window of energization following novelty could hint at a mechanistic underpinning of enhanced vigour for approach and exploration frequently postulated for novelty seeking humans. In conclusion, we show that stimulus novelty enhances the speed of a cued motor action. We suggest this is likely to reflect an adaptation to changing environments but may also provide a source of maladaptive choice and impulsive behaviour.

Concepts: Temperament and Character Inventory, Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire


The aim of this study was to examine (a) the associations of temperament and character dimensions with paranoid ideation over a 15-year follow-up in the general population (b) the associations of explosive temperament and organized character profiles with paranoid ideation. 2137 subjects of the Young Finns Study completed the Temperament and Character Inventory and the Paranoid Ideation Scale of the Symptom Checklist-90 Revised in 1997, 2001, and 2012. Temperament dimensions of high novelty seeking, high harm avoidance, low reward dependence and explosive temperament profile were associated with the development of higher paranoid ideation. Regarding character, high self-directedness, high cooperativeness, and low self-transcendence and organized character profile were associated with lower paranoid ideation. These associations sustained after controlling for age, gender, and socioeconomic factors. However, the associations between temperament and paranoia mostly disappeared after taking character into account. Our study supported the hypothesis that personality dimensions contribute to the development of paranoid ideation. Temperament and character might combine a variety of single previously found risk factors into a more comprehensive framework for the developmental etiology of paranoia. Our findings provide evidence for psychotherapeutic interventions that support the self-regulation of temperamental vulnerabilities by internalizing mature concepts about the self and social relationships.

Concepts: Sociology, Greek loanwords, Paranoia, Temperament and Character Inventory, Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire


The objective was to investigate the relationship between Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) rs4680 and serotonin-transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) genotypes with concussion history and personality traits. Rugby players (“all levels”: n = 303), from high schools (“junior”, n = 137), senior amateur, and professional teams (“senior”, n = 166), completed a self-reported concussion history questionnaire, Cloninger’s Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire, and donated a DNA sample. Participants were allocated into control (non-concussed, n = 140), case (all) (previous suspected or diagnosed concussions, n = 163), or case (diagnosed only) (previous diagnosed concussion, n = 140) groups. COMT rs4680 Val/Val genotypes were over-represented in controls in all levels (P = 0.013, OR:2.00, 95% CI:1.15-3.57) and in juniors (P = 0.003, OR:3.57, 95% CI:1.45-9.09). Junior Val/Val participants displayed increased “anticipatory worry” (P = 0.023). The 5-HTTLPR low expressing group was under-represented in controls when all levels were considered (P = 0.032; OR:2.02, 95% CI:1.05-3.90) and in juniors (P = 0.021; OR:3.36, 95% CI:1.16-9.72). Junior 5-HTTLPR low and intermediate expressing groups displayed decreased “harm avoidance” (P = 0.009), “anticipatory worry” (P = 0.041), and “fear of uncertainty” (P < 0.001). This study provides preliminary indications that personality associated genetic variants can influence concussion in rugby.

Concepts: DNA, Personality tests, Rugby football, Temperament and Character Inventory, Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire, Harm avoidance, South Africa national rugby union team, C. Robert Cloninger


Suicide is a major social and clinical problem in Asia. Although studies have suggested that personality traits are possible risk factors for suicide, no study has been conducted among Chinese to compare the temperament traits of suicidal and non-suicidal mood disorder patients with those of healthy controls. This study compared temperament traits of two patient groups, those with a mood disorder who have attempted suicide (n=204), and those with a mood disorder who have not attempted suicide (n=160), and compared the traits of these patients to those of healthy controls (n=178), assessed by Cloninger’s Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire and the Brown-Goodwin Aggression Inventory. Patients with suicidal attempts had significantly higher novelty seeking and aggression scores than healthy controls and patients without suicidal attempts. Two groups of patients with mood disorder had significantly higher harm avoidance scores than the healthy controls. However, patients with suicidal attempts did not have higher harm avoidance scores than patients without suicidal attempts. This study confirms findings that harm avoidance and mood disorder are related, and extends them by suggesting that those with a mood disorder and suicide attempts have higher novelty seeking and lifetime aggression scores than those without suicidal attempt, either patients or healthy controls.

Concepts: Suicide, Temperament and Character Inventory, Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire


The Cloninger’s Psychobiological Model of Temperament and Character includes temperamental dimensions such as reward dependence (RD) and harm avoidance (HA). Studies of RD differentiate between sensitivity to reward (SR) versus to punishment (SP). We investigated the interrelationship between HA and RD in acutely ill patients with binge/purge (B/P) type eating disorders (EDs) and following symptomatic stabilization.

Concepts: Illness, Temperament and Character Inventory, Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire, Reward dependence, Behavioral neuroscience, Biopsychology


Dopaminergic dysfunction has an important role in the pathoetiology of alcohol dependence (AD). The purpose of this study was to determine whether the solute carrier family 6 member 3 (SLC6A3) gene (also known as the dopamine transporter DAT gene) was associated with AD, and whether variants in the SLC6A3 locus were associated with specific personality traits in patients with AD. Sixteen polymorphisms in SLC6A3 were analyzed using 637 patients with AD and 523 healthy controls. To reduce clinical heterogeneity, patients were classified into two subgroups: early-onset AD (EOAD) and late-onset AD (LOAD). The Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire was used to assess the personality traits novelty seeking (NS) and harm avoidance (HA) in the patients with AD. Using allele frequency and genotype distribution comparisons and logistic regression analysis, we found evidence of association between rs6350 and AD (P < 0.05). Following subgroup analysis, we confirmed evidence of an association in patients with LOAD (P = 0.003), but not in patients with EOAD. Heterozygous carriers of the A allele have a nearly 3 times greater risk to develop LOAD compared to individuals who do not have an A allele. Although we found that patients with AD had higher NS and HA scores compared to controls (P < 0.001), we did not find evidence of association between SLC6A3 polymorphisms and either NS or HA in patients with AD using linear regression analysis. The findings from our study indicate that the SLC6A3 gene may have a role in susceptibility to late-onset AD in the Han Chinese population.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Genetics, Han Chinese, Solute carrier family, Dopamine, Dopamine transporter, Temperament and Character Inventory, Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire


Genetic and environmental interactive influences on predisposition to develop alcohol use disorder (AUD) account for the high heterogeneity among AUD patients and make research on the risk and resiliency factors complicated. Several attempts have been made to identify the genetic basis of AUD; however, only few genetic polymorphisms have consistently been associated with AUD. Intermediate phenotypes are expected to be in-between proxies of basic neuronal biological processes and nosological symptoms of AUD. Personality is likely to be a top candidate intermediate phenotype for the dissection of the genetic underpinnings of different subtypes of AUD. To date, 38 studies have investigated personality traits, commonly assessed by the Cloninger’s Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ) or Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI), in relation to polymorphisms of candidate genes of neurotransmitter systems in alcohol-dependent patients. Particular attention has been given to the functional polymorphism of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR), however, leading to contradictory results, whereas results with polymorphisms in other candidate monoaminergic genes (e.g., tryptophan hydroxylase, serotonin receptors, monoamine oxidases, dopamine receptors and transporter) are sparse. Only one genome-wide association study has been performed so far and identified the ABLIM1 gene of relevance for novelty seeking, harm avoidance and reward dependence in alcohol-dependent patients. Studies investigating genetic factors together with personality could help to define more homogenous subgroups of AUD patients and facilitate treatment strategies. This review also urges the scientific community to combine genetic data with psychobiological and environmental data to further dissect the link between personality and AUD.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Biology, Neurotransmitter, Serotonin, Dopamine, Temperament and Character Inventory, Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire