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Self-perceived personality characteristics in seasonal affective disorder and their implications for severity of depression

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The personality traits Neuroticism and Extraversion may be involved in the development of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). However, the impact of personality traits on SAD severity and whether such self-reported traits fluctuate with season is unknown. We investigated the association between Neuroticism, as acquired in a symptom-free phase and depression severity in individuals with SAD and seasonal changes in personality traits in individuals with SAD compared to healthy controls. Twenty-nine individuals diagnosed with SAD and thirty demographically matched controls completed the NEO Personality Inventory-Revised and the Major Depression Inventory twice: in summer when individuals with SAD were symptom-free, and in winter when they experienced SAD symptoms. In summer, the groups scored similarly on their personality traits, and the controls did not score any different in winter compared to summer. High scores on Neuroticism in summer was associated with more severe depressive symptoms in winter in SAD individuals. In winter, individuals with SAD scored higher on Neuroticism and lower on Extraversion, both compared to controls and to their own summer scores. Our results support that Neuroticism may represent a vulnerability marker related to SAD, and during a depressive episode Neuroticism and Extraversion may be sensitive markers of SAD pathology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume262
Pages (from-to)108-114
Number of pages7
ISSN0165-1781
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2018

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 52761230