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J Affect Disord. 2001 Mar;63(1-3):103-11.

Can personality traits predict increases in manic and depressive symptoms?

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  • 1University of Miami, P.O. Box 249229, Coral Gables, FL 33124-2010, USA.



There has been limited research investigating personality traits as predictors of manic and depressive symptoms in bipolar individuals. The present study investigated the relation between personality traits and the course of bipolar disorder. The purpose of this study was to identify specific personality traits that predict the course of manic and depressive symptoms experienced by bipolar individuals.


The sample consisted of 39 participants with bipolar I disorder assessed by the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. Personality was assessed using the NEO Five-Factor Inventory. The Modified Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression and the Bech-Rafaelsen Mania Rating Scale were used to assess symptom severity on a monthly basis.


Consistent with previous research on unipolar depression, high Neuroticism predicted increases in depressive symptoms across time while controlling for baseline symptoms. Additionally, high Conscientiousness, particularly the Achievement Striving facet, predicted increases in manic symptoms across time.


The current study was limited by the small number of participants, the reliance on a shortened version of a self-report personality measure, and the potential state-dependency of the personality measures.


Specific personality traits may assist in predicting bipolar symptoms across time. Further studies are needed to tease apart the state-dependency of personality.

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