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Schizophr Bull. 2014 Nov;40(6):1356-65. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbu057. Epub 2014 Apr 25.

Personality compensates for impaired quality of life and social functioning in patients with psychotic disorders who experienced traumatic events.

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Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Centre University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands;
Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Centre University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands;
Department of Psychiatry, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands;
Maastricht University Medical Centre, South Limburg Mental Health Research and Teaching Network, Maastricht, The Netherlands;
Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Centre Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.



Patients with psychotic disorders who experienced childhood trauma show more social dysfunction than patients without traumatic experiences. However, this may not hold for all patients with traumatic experiences. Little is known about the potential compensating role of Five-Factor Model personality traits within this group, despite their strong predictive value for social functioning and well-being in the general population.


Our sample consisted of 195 patients with psychotic disorders (74% diagnosed with schizophrenia) and 132 controls. Cluster analyses were conducted to identify and validate distinct personality profiles. General linear model analyses were conducted to examine whether patients with different profiles differed in social functioning and quality of life (QoL), while controlling for possible confounders. Mediation models were tested to assess potential causal links.


In general, patients with higher levels of self-reported traumatic experiences (PT+) showed lower QoL and more social withdrawal compared with patients with lower traumatic experiences (PT-). Two clusters reflecting personality profiles were identified. PT+ with the first profile (lower neuroticism and higher extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness) presented higher levels of QoL and better social functioning in several areas, including less withdrawal, compared with both PT+ and PT- with the second profile. PT+ and PT- with the first personality profile did not differ in QoL and social functioning. Mediation analyses suggested that personality traits mediate the relation between traumatic experiences and QoL and social withdrawal.


Our findings indicate that personality may "buffer" the impact of childhood traumatic experiences on functional outcome in patients with psychotic disorders.


Five-Factor Model; psychosis; resilience; trauma; well-being

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