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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2006 Aug;8(4):263-9.

Personality and anxiety disorders.

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  • 1Johns Hopkins Hospital, 600 North Wolfe Street, Meyer 115, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.


Personality traits and most anxiety disorders are strongly related. In this article, we review existing evidence for ways in which personality traits may relate to anxiety disorders: 1) as predisposing factors, 2) as consequences, 3) as results of common etiologies, and 4) as pathoplastic factors. Based on current information, we conclude the following: 1) Personality traits such as high neuroticism, low extraversion, and personality disorder traits (particularly those from Cluster C) are at least markers of risk for certain anxiety disorders; 2) Remission from panic disorder is generally associated with partial "normalization" of personality traits; 3) Anxiety disorders in early life may influence personality development; 4) Anxiety disorders and personality traits are usefully thought of as spectra of common genetic etiologies; and 5) Extremes of personality traits indicate greater dysfunction in patients with anxiety disorders.

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