- At the Institute we believe that personality and temperament contribute to certain depressive disorders, particularly the non-melancholic disorders.
- Certain personality types are more at risk of depression than others.
- Our research has highlighted the contribution of:
- High levels of anxiety, which can be experienced as an internalized ‘Anxious Worrying’ style or as a more externalized ‘Irritability’
- Shyness, expressed as ‘Social Avoidance’ and/or ‘Personal Reserve’
- Self-criticism or low self-worth
- Interpersonal sensitivity
- A ‘self-focused’ personality style.
- Those who are high on the first four dimensions are at distinctly greater risk to depression (especially non-melancholic depression).
- ‘Perfectionism is somewhat protective against the onset of depression but, if depression occurs, it can promote longer episodes.
- Those who have a high ‘self-focused’ style are more likely to be at greater risk for brief depressive episodes only.
If you have experienced depression and wish to determine whether your personality style may contribute, you might care to complete our Temperament and Personality questionnaire.
More detailed information on these at-risk personality styles is provided in Dealing with Depression: A common sense guide to mood disorders, by Gordon Parker, published by Allen & Unwin, 2004.
It is important to note that while temperament and personality styles may dispose to depression, they appear to have quite differing relevance to differing types of depression.
- In melancholic depression, there appears to be little effect of temperament or personality on the development of such a depressive condition.
- By contrast, those with non-melancholic depression are much more likely to have predisposing temperament and personality styles that contribute to the onset and course of the depression, as these depressive experiences are essentially an interaction of personality style and life stress events.