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Articulation and testing of a personality-centred model of psychopathology: evidence from a longitudinal community study over 30 years


Hengartner, Michael P; Tyrer, Peter; Ajdacic-Gross, Vladeta; Angst, Jules; Rössler, Wulf (2018). Articulation and testing of a personality-centred model of psychopathology: evidence from a longitudinal community study over 30 years. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 268(5):443-454.

Abstract

Advances in psychopathological research advocate a personality-centred model of common mental disorders (CMD). We tested four hypotheses to test such a model. First, personality relates to critical life events; second, both personality and critical life events relate to CMD; third, interaction effects between personality and critical life events relate to CMD; fourth, neuroticism explains the majority of variance in psychopathology. We analysed data (n = 453) based on seven semi-structured interviews from a longitudinal epidemiologic cohort study over 30 years spanning years 1979 (age 20) to 2008 (age 50). CMD and critical life events were assessed seven times between 1979 and 2008 and personality domains of neuroticism, extraversion and aggressiveness in 1988 and 1993. Aggressiveness and neuroticism related to partnership rupture and job loss. Neuroticism related significantly to major depression, anxiety disorders, substance-use disorders (SUD) and severity of psychopathology. Both partnership rupture and job loss related to major depression and severity of psychopathology, but not to anxiety disorder or SUD. An interaction effect between neuroticism and partnership rupture pointed towards significantly increased SUD prevalence. All associations held when additionally adjusted for childhood adversity and familial socio-economic status. According to a pseudo-R 2, neuroticism explained 51% of total variance in severity of psychopathology over time, while all three personality domains along with both partnership rupture and job loss explained 59% of total variance. In conclusion, personality, especially neuroticism, relates consistently to repeated measures of psychopathology. These associations are independent of and more pervasive than the effects of partnership rupture and job loss. Partnership rupture in interaction with neuroticism may further increase the risk for SUD. We conclude that neuroticism is a fundamental aetiological factor for severe psychopathology, but further testing of this model in other longitudinal studies is required.

Abstract

Advances in psychopathological research advocate a personality-centred model of common mental disorders (CMD). We tested four hypotheses to test such a model. First, personality relates to critical life events; second, both personality and critical life events relate to CMD; third, interaction effects between personality and critical life events relate to CMD; fourth, neuroticism explains the majority of variance in psychopathology. We analysed data (n = 453) based on seven semi-structured interviews from a longitudinal epidemiologic cohort study over 30 years spanning years 1979 (age 20) to 2008 (age 50). CMD and critical life events were assessed seven times between 1979 and 2008 and personality domains of neuroticism, extraversion and aggressiveness in 1988 and 1993. Aggressiveness and neuroticism related to partnership rupture and job loss. Neuroticism related significantly to major depression, anxiety disorders, substance-use disorders (SUD) and severity of psychopathology. Both partnership rupture and job loss related to major depression and severity of psychopathology, but not to anxiety disorder or SUD. An interaction effect between neuroticism and partnership rupture pointed towards significantly increased SUD prevalence. All associations held when additionally adjusted for childhood adversity and familial socio-economic status. According to a pseudo-R 2, neuroticism explained 51% of total variance in severity of psychopathology over time, while all three personality domains along with both partnership rupture and job loss explained 59% of total variance. In conclusion, personality, especially neuroticism, relates consistently to repeated measures of psychopathology. These associations are independent of and more pervasive than the effects of partnership rupture and job loss. Partnership rupture in interaction with neuroticism may further increase the risk for SUD. We conclude that neuroticism is a fundamental aetiological factor for severe psychopathology, but further testing of this model in other longitudinal studies is required.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pharmacology (medical), Biological Psychiatry, Psychiatry and Mental health, General Medicine
Language:English
Date:1 August 2018
Deposited On:20 Feb 2019 17:16
Last Modified:20 Feb 2019 17:18
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0940-1334
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00406-017-0796-8
PubMed ID:28389890

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