Personality and depression in Parkinson's disease

J Nerv Ment Dis. 1993 Nov;181(11):657-62. doi: 10.1097/00005053-199311000-00001.


The Parkinson's disease (PD) patient has been characterized as having a distinctive personality with introverted features. These personality traits are said to predate motor symptoms and are theorized to serve as a subtle clue to latent PD. To examine this hypothesis, we compared remote and current personality features in 35 PD subjects and 35 controls. Subjects' spouses completed a personality inventory (PI) characterizing patients' premorbid and current status. The premorbid PI of PD subjects differed from that of controls in being more "quiet," "generous," "cautious," and "even-tempered," and less "flexible." The characterization of the PD subjects' current personality differed greatly from reported premorbid personality features, i.e., significant change in 13 of 24 PI items. Personality inventory responses regarding both the PD subjects' premorbid and current personality correlated to symptoms of depression and disease severity. Cognition, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and rural versus urban residency did not correlate with PI responses. We conclude that PD patients are apt to be viewed as introverts premorbidly, and, with disease onset, more striking personality changes are recognized. These perceptions appear to be closely linked to depressed affect and correlate with motor impairment to a lesser extent.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Introversion, Psychological
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology
  • Personality / classification*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Smoking / epidemiology