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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1996 Apr;184(4):240-5.

Personality, functioning, and recovery from major depression.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Mater Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


The effect of personality on the effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy in those with severe depressive illness has been investigated in a few studies, and the results are conflicting, with some demonstrating no effect and others the opposite. These studies, however, used hospital readmission as the only outcome measure, and the methods of personality assessment varied. To study this question in further detail, 40 patients were assessed while receiving inpatient electroconvulsive therapy, at the time of discharge, every 6 weeks for 6 months, and at 1 year after discharge. A number of outcome variables were assessed, including both symptomatic and social functioning measures as well as readmission to hospital. Premorbid personality was also assessed after discharge. The results demonstrate that personality is a predictor of social function at the time of discharge from hospital. In those patients with personality disorders, social recovery is slower than in those with normal personalities. Personality status did not distinguish the speed of symptomatic recovery or of readmission. The significance of these findings is discussed.

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