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J Affect Disord. 2005 Mar;85(1-2):3-16.

TEMPS-A: progress towards validation of a self-rated clinical version of the Temperament Evaluation of the Memphis, Pisa, Paris, and San Diego Autoquestionnaire.

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International Mood Center, La Jolla, CA 92161, USA.



Our aim was to validate the Temperament Evaluation of the Memphis, Pisa, Paris, and San Diego Autoquestionnaire (TEMPS-A) in a clinical population.


The study was conducted in two Memphis mood clinics involving 398 affectively ill patients with young to middle index age (42 years+/-13 S.D.), who were 95% white, 62% female, and 51% bipolar spectrum. A subset of 157 of the entire sample were retested in 6-12 months, and the entire sample was then subjected to factor analysis (PCA extraction method with varimax rotation).


We obtained high test-retest reliability ranging from 0.58 for the irritable, to 0.68, 0.69 and 0.70, respectively, for the cyclothymic, dysthymic and hyperthymic. The hypothesized four-factor structure of the TEMPS-A was upheld, with the cyclothymic explaining 14% of the variance, followed by the irritable, hyperthymic, and dysthymic together accounting for another 14%. Internal consistency was excellent, with Chronbach alphas ranging from 0.76 for the dysthymic to 0.88 for the cyclothymic. Exploratory factor analysis revealed 2 super factors, Factor I loading on cyclothymic, irritable, and dysthymic temperaments, and Factor II loading heavily on the hyperthymic. The 50-item TEMPS-A-Clinical Version was constructed by using a cutoff of alpha > or =0.4 for traits loading exclusively on their original temperaments. We also proposed a longer 69-item version for future study, in which we permitted a greater number of traits based on clinical considerations (alpha cutoff 0.30).


The sample was preponderantly white, and may not generalize to other U.S. ethnic groups. This earlier version of TEMPS-A did not include the anxious temperament.


We psychometrically validated the TEMPS-A in affectively ill outpatients, leading to an instrument suitable for use in psychiatric, especially affectively ill, populations. It is noteworthy that in this clinically ill population we succeeded in measuring traits which could make subjects vulnerable to affective episodes, as well as those of adaptive nature. For instance, the dysthymic emerged as bound to routine, self-blaming, shy-nonassertive, sensitive to criticism, yet self-denying, dependable, and preferring to work for someone else rather than be the boss. The hyperthymic had the highest number of "positive" traits: upbeat, fun-loving, outgoing, jocular, optimistic, confident, full of ideas, eloquent, on the go, short-sleeper, tireless, who likes to be the boss, but single-minded, risk-taker, and unlikely to admit to his/her meddlesome nature. The cyclothymic emerged as labile with rapid shifts in mood; unstable in energy, self-esteem and socialization; unevenly gifted and dilettante; yet keen in perception, intense in emotions, and romantic. The irritable emerged as skeptical and critical (which might be considered intellectual virtues), but otherwise having the "darkest" nature of all temperaments: grouchy, complaining, dissatisfied; anger- and violence-prone, and sexually jealous. The foregoing temperament attributes, observed in a moderately severe group of patients with affective disorders, nonetheless testify to the evolutionary context of these disorders-"submissive" behavior, territoriality, romantic charm, and last, but not least, sexually jealous with its associated specter of violence. We hypothesize that the putative social and limbic mechanisms underlying mood disorders appear to have archaic origins on an evolutionary scale. We finally submit that the traits underlying affective disorders are very much part of human nature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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