Psychodynamic personality profile in first-episode severe mental disorders


Dr Jyrki Heikkilä, Psychiatric Services, City of Turku, Kunnallissairaalantie 20, rakennus 4, FIN-20700 Turku, Finland


Objective:  The aim of this study was to relate measures of psychoanalytically derived personality traits to descriptive diagnosis and psychopathology in severe mental disorders.

Method:  Sixty-one consecutive first-episode patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe major depression were interviewed. Personality traits were assessed with the Karolinska Psychodynamic Profile (KAPP) and compared with the DSM-IV diagnosis and symptom clusters derived from the BPRS.

Results:  There were no marked differences in personality traits between the three diagnostic groups, between schizophrenia and affective disorders or between psychotic and non-psychotic illness. However, personality traits had significant associations with symptoms, especially with the emotional retardation cluster.

Conclusion:  Our findings do not support the hypothesis that severe mental disorders would differ from each other in terms of long-standing psychodynamic personality profiles. Certain dysfunctional personality traits may predict especially negative emotional symptoms and possibly also predispose a person to them.