PERSONALITY DIMENSIONS IN SCHIZOPHRENIA: ASSOCIATIONS WITH SYMPTOMS AND COPING

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Abstract

While individual differences in personality exist among persons with schizophrenia and predate the onset of illness, less is known about their relationship to outcome. This study examined whether levels of three personality dimensions—neuroticism, extraversion, and agreeableness—are associated with symptomatology and coping in persons with schizophrenia. Symptom, personality, and coping measures were obtained for 59 participants with schizophrenia. Personality and coping measures were obtained for 17 persons in a community comparison group. Relative to the community comparison groups, participants with schizophrenia had higher levels of neuroticism, lower levels of extraversion and agreeableness, and tended to employ more avoidant styles of coping. Participants with schizophrenia who had higher levels of neuroticism had greater positive and emotional discomfort symptoms and greater preferences for avoidant coping strategies. Participants with schizophrenia who had higher levels of agreeableness had lower levels of positive and excitement symptoms. No links were found between extraversion and outcome measures. Implications for understanding how personality may affect outcome are discussed.

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