A psychobiological approach to personality: Examination within anxious outpatients

Susan Ball, James Smolin, Anantha Shekhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine Cloninger's psychobiological personality model among different anxiety and depressive outpatients as well as normal healthy comparisons. In addition, the relationship between the underlying temperament dimensions and behavioral coping strategies was also studied using the tri-axial model of coping. Methods: Subjects were 120 outpatients presenting to an anxiety disorders specialty clinic and 17 normal comparisons. They underwent a semi-structured clinical interview and completed a battery of questionnaires, including the Temperament and Character Inventory and the Strategic Approach to Coping Scale. Results: On the temperament dimensions, the patients were elevated on the harm avoidance scale relative to the normal comparisons; the temperament substrate was not differentiated by the anxiety or affective diagnostic types nor was there differences between groups on the other temperament dimensions. Both severity of illness and the presence of a comorbid depressive disorder each contributed independently to harm avoidance scores. Hypotheses regarding the association between underlying temperament and behavioral coping strategies were supported for the dimensions of reward dependence and harm avoidance, but not for novelty seeking. Conclusions: Cloninger's psychobiological model is supported with the temperament of harm avoidance being the relevant dimension for anxiety and affective disorders. The underlying temperament structure also has clinical relevance for the type of coping strategies that are utilized by an individual.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-103
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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