Typus melancholicus is not the premorbid personality trait of unipolar (endogenous) depression


Department of Psychiatry, Nagoya City University Medical School, Mizuho-cho, Mizuho-ku, Nagoya 467, Japan.


Abstract  The present paper aims to examine whether Typus melancholicus is a distinguishing premorbid personality of unipolar (endogenous) depressive patients vis-à-vis psychiatric patients with different diagnoses and healthy control subjects. Two observer-rated scales for Typus melancholicus were administered to a consecutive series of psychiatric patients (n= 140) and a group of control subjects (n= 84). To the authors' own surprise, the only statistically significant finding was the low Typus melancholicus score among unipolar (endogenous) depressives in comparison with normal controls but not with other psychiatric patients. In addition, this finding held only for one of the two rating scales and among women only. According to the other rating scale for Typus melancholicus, there was no difference between unipolar (endogenous) depressives and the normal control or other psychiatric patients. These findings are discussed with particular emphasis on the methodological aspects of studies of premorbid personality of psychiatric disorders, a favored subject in the psychiatric science for decades.