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Keywords:

  • temperament;
  • character;
  • personality disorder

Svrakic DM, Draganic S, Hill K, Bayon C, Przybeck TR, Cloninger CR. Temperament, character, and personality disorders: etiologic, diagnostic, treatment issues. Acta Psychiatr Scand 2002: 106: 189–195. © Blackwell Munksgaard 2002.

Objective: In this paper, we explore the underlying dimensional structure of personality disorder, propose a novel approach to its diagnosis, and outline our concepts of its etiology and treatment based on the seven factor psychobiological model of temperament and character.

Method: Temperament and character traits were evaluated in a consecutive series of 109 psychiatric out-patients, with or without personality disorder and varying mood and anxiety states.

Results: Low scores on character dimensions consistently correlated with high symptom counts for personality disorder. Each subtype of personality disorder created a unique combination of correlations with the four temperament traits.

Conclusion: Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) temperament and character traits efficiently diagnose personality disorder and differentiate its individual subtypes. Character traits are used to diagnose the presence and the severity of personality disorder, whereas temperament traits are used for differential diagnosis. The distinction between temperament and character provides an attractive theoretical basis for etiological postulates and treatment of personality disorder.