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Prog Brain Res. 2007;166:221-5.

Tinnitus severity, depression, and the big five personality traits.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.


A growing number of self-report measures for the evaluation of tinnitus severity has become available to research and clinical practice. This has led to an increased awareness of depression and personality as predictors of tinnitus severity in addition to loudness and other psychoacoustic measures. However, the net impact of personality dimensions on tinnitus ratings has not been investigated when the effect of depressed mood is controlled. In the present study, we demonstrate the role of the big five personality traits, 'Neuroticism', 'Extraversion', 'Openness', 'Agreeableness', and 'Conscientiousness', in affecting scores on two standard instruments for grading tinnitus-related complaints, the tinnitus handicap inventory (THI), and the tinnitus questionnaire (TQ). When 72 individuals with chronic tinnitus were examined, 'Agreeableness' negatively correlated with THI scores (p=.003), whereas the anxiety trait 'Neuroticism' correlated both with depressive symptomatology (p<.001) and TQ scores (p=.028), but not with THI ratings (n.s.). In addition to confirming the established roles of trait anxiety and depression, low 'Agreeableness' was thus identified as a novel predictor of tinnitus severity on the THI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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