Correlation of duration of latent Toxoplasma gondii infection with personality changes in women

Biol Psychol. 2000 May;53(1):57-68. doi: 10.1016/s0301-0511(00)00034-x.


Many parasites induce characteristic changes in behavior of their hosts. In humans latent toxoplasmosis is associated with changes in personality profiles. It has been already shown that a decrease in superego strength is correlated with duration of toxoplasmosis in men. Here we studied changes in personality profiles with Cattell's 16 PF questionnaire in Toxoplasma-infected women. The changes were measured as differences in personality factors between Toxoplasma-infected subjects and uninfected controls of the same age. The low-rate changes were studied in 230 women diagnosed with acute toxoplasmosis during past 14 years. The results showed the correlation between duration of toxoplasmosis and level of factors G (high superego strength) and Q3 (high strength of self sentiment). The high-rate changes were estimated by measuring the correlation between level of Toxoplasma-antibody titers (which rapidly decline after the end of acute phase of toxoplasmosis) and personality factors in an experimental set of 55 young mothers with latent toxoplasmosis. Again, certain factors, namely A (affectothymia), F (surgence), G (high superego strength), H (parmia), and L (protension), correlated with the length of the infection. We suggest that the parasite induced the changes in the personality profiles of the women because of our observation of an increasingly different personality profile over time between women with latent infection and controls. The same evidence questions the view that women with a particular personality profile are more prone to acquisition of T. gondii infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Personality*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Toxoplasma / isolation & purification*
  • Toxoplasmosis / microbiology*
  • Toxoplasmosis / psychology*