Can onset and recovery in depression be predicted by temperament? A systematic review and meta-analysis

J Affect Disord. 2011 Dec;135(1-3):20-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2010.12.021. Epub 2011 Jan 22.


Background: Behavioural inhibition and more specifically harm avoidance temperament dimension (HA) has been found to be associated with depression. Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) by Cloninger et al. is the most widely used instrument in the assessment of temperament. The aims of the present study were to explore 1) if current or future depressive symptoms in non-clinical adult sample can be explained by TCI temperament dimensions, and 2) if recovery from major depression (MDD) during the acute phase of treatment is predictable by TCI temperament dimensions.

Method: Literature search from eight databases. Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Results: High HA was associated with current depressive symptoms in 11/12 studies and with depressive trait in 3/4 studies. In MDD studies, a consistent negative change in HA was found during treatment and this change was even more clearly associated with treatment response.

Limitations: The studies with general population samples were heterogeneous in methodology. Most of the intervention studies were of case-control design.

Conclusions: HA is indisputably associated with the risk and treatment response in depression.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Character
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Depression / therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major
  • Humans
  • Personality Inventory
  • Prognosis
  • Risk
  • Temperament*
  • Treatment Outcome