Affective Temperaments: Unique Constructs or Dimensions of Normal Personality by Another Name?

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Thomas R. Kwapil, Associate Professor (Creator)
Paul Silvia, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Background: Current models theorize that affective temperaments underlie the development and expression of mood psychopathology. Recent studies support the construct validity of affective temperaments in clinical and non-clinical samples. However, one concern is that affective temperaments may be describing characteristics that are better captured by models of normal personality. We conducted two studies examining: (a) the association of affective temperaments with domains and facets of normal personality, and (b) whether affective temperaments accounted for variance in mood symptoms and disorders, impairment, and daily-life experiences over-and-above variance accounted for by normal personality. Methods: Study 1 included 522 young adults who completed the TEMPS-A and the NEO-PI-3. Study 2 included 145 participants who were administered the TEMPS-A, NEO-FFI, interviews assessing psychopathology and impairment, and an assessment of daily life experiences. Results: Study 1 revealed that personality domains and facets accounted for one-third to one-half of the variance in affective temperaments. However, study 2 demonstrated that affective temperaments accounted for unique variance in measures of psychopathology, impairment, and daily-life experiences after partialling variance associated with personality domains. Specifically, cyclothymic/irritable temperament predicted bipolar disorders, impairment, borderline personality traits, urgency, and anger in daily life. Hyperthymic temperament predicted hypomanic episodes, grandiosity, sensation seeking, and increased activity in daily life. Limitations: The study was limited by the fact that only domain, not facet-level, measures of FFM were available in study 2. Conclusions: The findings support the validity of hyperthymic and cyclothymic/irritable temperaments as indicators of clinical psychopathology and indicate that they provide information beyond normal personality.

Additional Information

Journal of Affective Disorders, 151(3), 882-890
Language: English
Date: 2013
Affective temperaments, Personality, Mood psychopathology, Bipolar spectrum disorders

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