Personality and temperament

What is personality and temperament in people with schizophrenia?

Personality and temperament are thought to be relatively stable over time and include emotional, reactive, and attentional traits.

Studies assessing personality and temperament use “positive” stimuli, which generates pleasurable emotional states, “negative” stimuli evokes avoidant, threat, sadness, or other negative emotional states, and “neutral” stimuli generally provokes no response. Hedonic and aversive emotions refer to the positive or negative emotions following stimuli presentation.

One of the main personality models is the Five-Factor Model which includes five traits of; 1) neuroticism: vulnerability to emotional instability and self-consciousness, 2) extraversion: predisposition towards sociability, assertiveness and social interaction, 3) openness: cognitive disposition to new experiences, creativity and aesthetics, 4) agreeableness: tendency towards being sympathetic, trusting and altruistic, and 5) conscientiousness: tendency towards dutifulness and competence.

What is the evidence for personality and temperament in people with schizophrenia?

Moderate to high quality evidence finds large effects of increased neuroticism and decreased extraversion, and medium-sized effects of decreased openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness in people with schizophrenia compared to people without schizophrenia. High quality evidence finds a large effect of more harm avoidance, and small effects of less novelty seeking, dependence on rewards, and persistence. There are medium-sized effects of greater aversion and arousal to neutral stimuli, greater aversion to positive stimuli, and greater hedonic response to negative stimuli.

Moderate to high quality evidence finds a large effect of more trait anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure), and medium to large effects of poor emotion regulation, more negative emotion, and less positive emotion in people with schizophrenia. There was also more dissociation and alexithymia (inability to identify and describe one’s own emotions). Insecure attachment style was higher in people with psychosis than controls (76% vs. 38%), particularly fearful attachment style.

September 2020

Image: ©Marek Uliasz –

Last updated at: 3:31 am, 30th August 2021
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Fact Sheet Technical Commentary
Tags:  Personality

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