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Personality traits in early psychosis: relationship with symptom and coping treatment outcomes


Associate Professor Tania Lecomte, Departmentof Psychology, Université de Montréal, Bur C-358, 90 rue Vincent d'Indy, C.P. 6128, Succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada. Email:


Aims: This study aimed to determine personality profiles of individuals with early psychosis based on the Five Factor Model of personality and assess the predictive value of personality traits or profiles on therapeutic outcomes of two group treatments for recent onset psychosis: cognitive behaviour therapy or skills training for symptom management.

Methods: One hundred and twenty-nine individuals with early psychosis were recruited to participate in a randomized controlled trial. The participants were randomized to one of two group treatments or to a wait-list control group. Measures included a personality inventory (NEO Five Factor Inventory) and outcome measures of symptomatology (Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale-Expanded) and coping strategies (Cybernetic Coping Scale).

Results: Cluster analyses revealed three different personality profiles (based on the Five Factor Model) – none specifically linked to psychotic symptoms. No links were revealed between personality traits and symptom change scores. Personality traits were linked to therapeutic improvements in active coping strategies, with extraversion accounting for 17% of the variance. Neuroticism was linked to increased use of passive coping strategies. Active coping strategies were also predicted by profile 1 (holding the highest openness score) with 26% of the variance explained and by profile 3 (the highest extraversion score), with 14% of the variance explained.

Conclusions: Individuals with early psychosis can present with distinct personality profiles as would be expected in a non-clinical population. Personality traits do not appear to influence symptomatic treatment outcomes but are linked to behavioural changes, such as the use of coping strategies.