Background Cloninger's psychobiological model of personality has been extensively applied to subjects affected by mood disorders (MOOD). However, most studies are widely heterogeneous in terms of sample size, methods of assessment, and selection of participants. Methods We conducted a systematic review of literature and a random effects meta-analysis of studies comparing at least two of the following groups: (a) adults with a primary MOOD diagnosis (Bipolar Disorder (BP) or major depressive disorder (MDD)), (b) their unaffected siblings (SIB) or (c) healthy subjects (HS), and reporting quantitative results from the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ) or the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). Subgroup, sensitivity and meta-regression analyses were also conducted. Results High Harm Avoidance and low Self-Directedness were consistently associated with MOOD and SIB samples. BP was characterized by higher scores in Novelty Seeking and Self-Transcendence than HS, SIB and MDD. Age seemed to have a negative effect on Novelty Seeking and a positive effect on Harm Avoidance, Cooperativeness and Self-Transcendence. An euthymic mood state was associated with reduced Harm Avoidance, but increased Reward Dependence, Self-Directedness and Cooperativeness. Limitations The quality of the included studies varied and was relatively low. Moreover, publication bias and heterogeneity in the distribution of effect sizes may also have limited our results. Conclusion High Harm Avoidance and Low Self-Directedness may be trait markers for MOOD in general, while high Novelty Seeking and high Self-Transcendence may be specific to BP. Future studies are needed to disentangle the state-trait effect of each personality dimension.
- Bipolar Disorder
- Mood disorders