Introduction: Clinical symptoms and sociodemographic variables predict level of functioning and quality of life in patients with schizophrenia. However, few studies have examined the effect of personality traits on quality of life and overall functioning in schizophrenia. Personality traits are premorbid to illness and may predict the way patients experience schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to examine the individual and additive effects of two core personality traits-neuroticism and extraversion-on quality of life and functioning.
Methods: Patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders (n=153) and healthy controls (n=125) completed personality and quality of life questionnaires. Global functioning was assessed during a clinician-administered structured interview. Neuroticism and extraversion scores were analyzed both as continuous variables and as categorical extremes (High versus Normal Neuroticism, Low versus Normal Extraversion).
Results: Quality of life was significantly associated with neuroticism, extraversion, and the neuroticism×diagnosis and extraversion×diagnosis interactions. For patients, a lower neuroticism score (in the normal range) was associated with quality of life scores comparable to controls; whereas high neuroticism scores in patients were associated with the lowest quality of life. For overall functioning, only diagnosis had a significant effect.
Conclusion: Neuroticism modulates quality of life and may provide an important key to improving the life of patients with schizophrenia.
Keywords: Extraversion; Neuroticism; Quality of life; Schizophrenia.
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