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Psychiatry Res. 2007 Jul 30;152(1):81-90. Epub 2007 Feb 27.

Temperament and character dimensions in patients with social phobia: patterns of change following treatments?

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  • 1Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Section of Psychiatry St Göran's Hospital, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


The aim of this study was to examine Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) profiles in patients with social phobia (DSM-IV) and to outline patterns of change following intensive group cognitive therapy (IGCT), individual cognitive therapy (ICT) and treatment as usual (TAU). One hundred patients recruited by advertisements in local papers were randomized to IGCT, ICT and TAU. Patients (n=59) who completed diagnostic evaluation and TCI assessments at baseline and 1-year follow-up were examined in this study. Patients differed from healthy controls in novelty seeking (NS), harm avoidance (HA), self-directedness (SD), cooperativeness (C), and self-transcendence (ST). Treatments overall were associated with decrease in HA, while increase in SD was observed after psychotherapy only. Reduced social anxiety was correlated with decrease in HA and increase in SD. High HA at baseline was related to poor treatment outcome in all treatments. To conclude, patients with social phobia show a temperamental vulnerability for developing anxiety and character traits associated with personality disorders. Successful treatment is related to decrease in HA and increase in SD. High HA at baseline may suggest a need for extensive treatment in order to achieve remission.

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