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CNS Spectr. 2009 May;14(5):268-74.

Pathological love: impulsivity, personality, and romantic relationship.

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  • 1Impulse Control Disorder Outpatient Clinic, Department of Psychiatry, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.



Pathological love (PL)--behavior characterized by providing repetitive and uncontrolled care and attention to the partner in a romantic relationship--is a rarely studied condition, despite not being rare and causing suffering. This study aims at investigating impulsivity, personality, and characteristics related to the romantic relationship in this population.


Eighty-nine individuals (50 with PL; 39 individuals with no psychiatric disorder) were compared regarding impulsivity, personality, type of attachment, satisfaction with romantic relationship, and love style.


Individuals with PL have higher levels of impulsivity (P<.001; Barratt Impulsiveness Scale), higher self-transcendence, that is, are more unconventional and hold sense of communion with a wider reality (P<.001; Temperament and Character Inventory) and keep dissatisfactory romantic relationships (P<.001; Adapted Relationship Assessment Scale).


Individuals with PL present personality traits and relationship aspects that must be taken into account in devising assessment and therapeutic strategies for this population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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