Personality Traits as Predictors of Quality of Life and Body Image after Breast Reconstruction

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It has been suggested that personality traits may influence patient-reported outcomes of breast reconstruction, but the research is limited. We investigated, in a prospective study, whether personality traits predict the achieved body image and quality of life (QoL) after breast reconstruction.


Patients planning to undergo breast reconstruction at a University Hospital were consecutively recruited from January 2014 to January 2016. Participants completed validated measures of personality, body image, and QoL, before and 6 months after breast reconstruction. The influence of personality traits on achieved body image and QoL was explored with multivariate linear regression modelling, adjusting for baseline scores, demographics, and clinical variables.


Of 247 eligible patients, 208 (84%) participated. Twelve patients (6%) were excluded due to failed reconstruction. Of the remaining 196 patients, 180 (92%) completed the follow-up questionnaire. When adjusted for baseline QoL scores, higher trait Neuroticism, higher trait Openness, and higher body mass index measured at baseline showed to be independent and statistically significant predictors of deteriorating QoL scores from baseline to 6-month follow-up (P < 0.001; R2 = 0.45). When adjusted for body image scores at baseline, higher trait Neuroticism and immediate reconstruction were found to be independent predictors of poorer body image from baseline to 6-months follow-up (P < 0.001; R2 = 0.36).


The present study suggests personality traits, in particular Neuroticism, as independent predictors of the achieved body image and QoL after breast reconstruction. Weighing in the personality traits of the patients may be an important adjunct in improving patient-reported outcomes after breast reconstructions.

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