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Temperament and character predictors of depressed mood over a 4-year interval



Background: A large community sample [n=591, 57% women, M age=51.01] was administered the Revised Temperament and Character Inventory [TCI-R; Cloninger, 1999]: The Temperament and Character Inventory—Revised. St. Louis, MO: Center for Psychobiology of Personality, Washington University] and a modified version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies–Depression Scale [CES-D; Radloff, 1977]: Appl Psychol Measure 1:385–401] at Time 1 [T1] and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies–Depression Scale again 4 years later at Time 2 [T2].Methods: Whereas three of the seven personality dimensions were significantly and uniquely associated with depressed mood at T1, only harm avoidance emerged as a significant unique positive predictor of depressed mood at T2. Results: When participants were grouped according to the level of stability versus change in depressed mood during the 4-year period, reward dependence, self-directedness, and cooperativeness were found to be significantly lower among those low in depressed mood at T1 who subsequently evidenced moderate to high levels of depressed mood at T2 when compared to those with low depressed mood on both assessment occasions. Additional analyses indicated that those who evidenced moderate to high levels of depression at T1 and T2 were distinctly higher on harm avoidance and lower on self-directedness when compared to those who had consistently low or variable levels of depressed mood across the two assessment occasions. Conclusions: Findings from this research are discussed in terms of personality-related vulnerability and risk factors for future episodes of depressed mood. Depression and Anxiety, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.