A controlled investigation of current and premorbid personality: characteristics of Parkinson's disease patients

Mov Disord. 1995 Mar;10(2):201-6. doi: 10.1002/mds.870100211.


It has been suggested that before development of motor symptoms, Parkinson's disease (PD) patients with idiopathic display a specific cluster of personality traits consisting of increased rigidity, conscientiousness, industriousness, orderliness, and cautiousness. The idea of such a distinctive premorbid personality profile remains controversial. This hypothesis was reexamined using a methodology that expands on previous studies. Patients with idiopathic PD, probable Alzheimer's Disease (AD), and medical controls with nonneurological chronic progressive motor disorders were rated by a close relative on the NEO-Personality Inventory (PI) to compare current and premorbid personality profiles. For PD and control subjects, current and past self-ratings were also obtained. Results do not support the postulated distinctive PD personality either premorbidly or following onset of symptoms. Both in terms of the premorbid personality profile and perceived changes in personality post-dating the onset of illness, PD patients are similar to AD patients. Though not differing from medical controls premorbidly, after developing symptoms, PD patients were described as less extroverted; less exploratory and curious; and less organized, goal directed, and disciplined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Education
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Personality Inventory*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales