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17-01-2011 | Mental health | Article

No differences in temperament and character between BD I and II patients


Free abstract

MedWire News: Results from a Finnish study suggest that there are no significant differences in temperament and character dimensions between patients with bipolar I disorder (BD I) and those with bipolar II disorder (BD II).

However, Errki Isometsä (University of Helsinki) and team found that patients with BD differ from those with major depressive disorder (MDD) and mentally healthy individuals regarding certain temperament and character dimensions.

The findings come from a study of 191 BD patients, 266 with MDD, and 264 controls from the general population without either disorder. Of the BD patients, 99 had BD I and 92 had BD II.

All the participants were interviewed using the Temperament and Character Inventory-Revised (TCI-R), with the BD and MDD patients being interviewed during a period of minimum mood symptoms.

The researchers found that there were no significant differences between BD I and BD II patients regarding scores on the TCI-R.

However, BD and MDD patients had higher TCI-R scores for harm avoidance than controls, at 105.5 and 106.4 versus 86.4, respectively.

BD and MDD patients also had lower TCI-R scores for persistence (108.8 and 104.3 versus 116.3, respectively), self-directedness (129.3 and 137.2 versus 148.8, respectively), and cooperativeness (126.4 and 133.7 versus 137.7, respectively) compared with controls.

BD patients had higher TCI-R scores than MDD patients and controls for novelty seeking (109.0 versus 100.8 and 101.9, respectively) and lower scores for reward dependence (97.0 versus 100.1 and 103.1, respectively).

The differences in TCI-R scores among the groups remained significant after accounting for age, gender, education, work status, marital status, and current alcohol dependence, the researchers note in the journal Psychological Medicine.

Isometsä and team conclude: "The pattern of temperament and character dimensions between BD and MDD patients showed more similarities than differences. However, both patient groups were different from the general population."

"The most pronounced difference was in the novelty seeking dimension, where BD patients scored higher than MDD patients."

They add: "Temperament and character dimensions are unlikely to differ between BD I and BD II patients."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Mark Cowen

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