Personality Profile of HIV Outpatients: Preliminary Results and Remarks on Clinical Management

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Currently, HIV is one of the most widely spread epidemics in the world. The specificity of the mode of transmission, the well-known severity of the prognosis, and the kind of therapies used are peculiarities of this illness. Personality traits of individuals with HIV may influence conditions for the infection itself. On the other hand, it is possible that personality traits may influence the course of the illness and the willingness of the patients to adhere to treatment. The present study assessed the personality traits of a heterogeneous group of seropositive subjects compared with healthy controls to determine specific temperament and character traits of this population.


The Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) was administered to 126 HIV-positive outpatients belonging to different risk categories for HIV infection and to a sample of healthy individuals matched for sex, age, and socioeconomic parameters.


Drug-dependent HIV-positive patients displayed higher scores in novelty seeking and harm avoidance and lower scores in self-directedness compared with healthy controls. Non-drug-dependent HIV-positive subjects scored significantly higher in self-transcendence.


Temperament and character features significantly differentiate the HIV-positive subjects from controls and those belonging to the different risk categories for HIV infection. Drug-dependent subjects with HIV display more impulsiveness, which possibly predates the HIV infection. They are also more fearful and lack self-directedness. Non-drug-dependent subjects express higher self-transcendence resources, possibly to overcome their difficulties. Both the temperament and character features may influence compliance with treatment and require specific interventions considering these subgroups.


Copyright © 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

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