Multidimensional assessment of personality in patients with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2004 May;75(5):743-8. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.2003.013821.


Objectives: To determine whether patients with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) have evidence of maladaptive personality, and whether they have a single or several different typical pathological personality profiles.

Methods: Patients were recruited from the department of epileptology, Bonn, Germany. In all, 85 patients with PNES and 63 with epilepsy completed a postal questionnaire including the dimensional assessment of personality pathology - basic questionnaire (DAPP-BQ). The DAPP-BQ was also completed by 100 healthy volunteers. The groups were compared and the PNES group was subjected to cluster analysis.

Results: Patients with PNES had a greater degree of personality abnormality than clinical and non-clinical controls. There were several clusters of personality pathology. The profile of the largest cluster (n = 43) resembled that found in borderline personality disorder, that of the second largest (n = 37) was characterised by an overly controlled personality, that of the third (n = 4) was similar to the profile in avoidant personality disorder. Outcome differed between clusters.

Conclusions: Maladaptive personality is common in patients with PNES. PNES are associated with several distinct profiles of pathological personality. This is relevant because outcome differed between profiles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Assessment*
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Personality Disorders / etiology*
  • Seizures / diagnosis
  • Seizures / psychology*
  • Severity of Illness Index