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Keywords:

  • major depression;
  • personality;
  • personality disorder;
  • temperament;
  • typus melancholicus

Abstract

Although many clinical studies have been conducted to determine the etiological role and clinical implications of typus melancholicus for unipolar depression, maladaptive personality features in depressive patients have not been well described. This study explores typus melancholicus, as measured by the rigidity subscale of the Munich Personality Test, and maladaptive personality features, as measured by the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI), in 131 remitted patients with DSM-IV major depression and 154 normal controls. The patients reported significantly higher scores on rigidity and harm avoidance and significantly lower scores on self-directedness and cooperativeness. Only 23.6% of the variance of the rigidity scale was explained by the variance of the seven TCI scales, in which only persistence was significantly correlated positively to rigidity. Cluster analysis identified four subgroups, two of which were characterized by a high rigidity score. One of these two subgroups showed no maladaptive personality features, as measured by the TCI, while the other showed high harm avoidance and low self-directedness. These results indicate that the personality of depressive patients is characterized not only by typus melancholicus but also by maladaptive personality features, that typus melancholicus is not well represented by any TCI scale, and that typus melancholicus and maladaptive personality features can coexist in some depressive patients.