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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2004 May;75(5):743-8.

Multidimensional assessment of personality in patients with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures.

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Academic Unit of Neurology, Division of Genomic Medicine, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.



To determine whether patients with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) have evidence of maladaptive personality, and whether they have a single or several different typical pathological personality profiles.


Patients were recruited from the department of epileptology, Bonn, Germany. In all, 85 patients with PNES and 63 with epilepsy completed a postal questionnaire including the dimensional assessment of personality pathology - basic questionnaire (DAPP-BQ). The DAPP-BQ was also completed by 100 healthy volunteers. The groups were compared and the PNES group was subjected to cluster analysis.


Patients with PNES had a greater degree of personality abnormality than clinical and non-clinical controls. There were several clusters of personality pathology. The profile of the largest cluster (n = 43) resembled that found in borderline personality disorder, that of the second largest (n = 37) was characterised by an overly controlled personality, that of the third (n = 4) was similar to the profile in avoidant personality disorder. Outcome differed between clusters.


Maladaptive personality is common in patients with PNES. PNES are associated with several distinct profiles of pathological personality. This is relevant because outcome differed between profiles.

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