Temperament traits and executive functions in Parkinson's disease

Neurosci Lett. 2018 Sep 25:684:25-28. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2018.06.040. Epub 2018 Jun 22.


Introduction: Aim of the study was to evaluate the possible relationship between Temperament traits and executive dysfunction in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD).

Methods: Patients affected by PD diagnosed according to the UK Parkinson's disease Society Brain Bank criteria were enrolled in the study. Patients with a Mini Mental State Examination <24 were excluded from the study. The Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI), a self-report questionnaire assessing the Harm Avoidance (HA), Novelty Seeking (NS) and Reward Dependence (RD) temperamental traits, has been performed. The executive functions were assessed with the Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB).

Results: Fifty PD patients (28 men and 22 women; mean age 59.1 ± 10.1 years) were enrolled. High HA (mean score 73.3 ± 24.7) and a low NS score (24.2 ± 18.7) were recorded. Fifteen (30%) patients presented a pathological FAB score (≤13.5). Patients with a pathological FAB score presented an HA score significantly higher than patients with normal FAB score (respectively 84.9 ± 13.7 versus 69.8 ± 26.9; p = 0.045). At the univariate analysis an association between high HA score and pathological FAB score was found (OR 3.85, 95%CI 1.06-13.9; p-value 0.040).

Conclusion: Our study confirmed an association between executive disturbances and HA in PD patients, possibly related to a common impairment of the frontostriatal circuits.

Keywords: Executive functions; Harm avoidance; Parkinson’s disease; Personality; Temperament traits.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Status and Dementia Tests*
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Self Report*
  • Temperament / physiology*