Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2009 Sep-Oct;31(5):470-7. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2009.05.002. Epub 2009 Jun 23.

The role of personality in comorbidity among anxiety and depressive disorders in primary care and specialty care: a cross-sectional analysis.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Psychology, Department of Psychology, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands.



Almost no cross-sectional studies directly compared the rate and pattern of comorbidity of affective disorders in relation to personality traits of patients seen in primary care versus specialty mental health care.


Using data from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety, we compared 1086 primary care patients with 790 consecutive specialized mental health care patients. All participants had at least one lifetime Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition-based diagnosis of depression or anxiety. Personality was assessed with the NEO Five-Factor Inventory.


In both settings it was common to have at least one lifetime comorbid affective disorder. Compared to primary care patients, specialty care patients showed elevated scores for Neuroticism and lower scores for Extraversion and Conscientiousness. The odds of having another disorder given any one disorder was no longer significant after accounting for personality dimensions. Only Neuroticism proved to be positively associated with comorbidity per se.


Prevalence of and comorbidity among anxiety and depressive disorders in primary care were very similar to those in specialty care. Neuroticism - but no other personality traits - may help to understand the comorbidity among anxiety and depressive disorders irrespective of recruitment setting.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center