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Temperament, character traits, and alexithymia in patients with panic disorder

Authors Izci F, Gültekin BK, Saglam S, Iris Koc M, Zincir SB, Atmaca M

Received 18 February 2014

Accepted for publication 27 March 2014

Published 16 May 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 879—885


Checked for plagiarism Yes

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Peer reviewer comments 4

Filiz Izci,1 Bulent Kadri Gültekin,1 Sema Saglam,2 Merve Iris Koc,1 Selma Bozkurt Zincir,1 Murad Atmaca3

1Department of Psychiatry, Erenkoy Training and Research Hospital for Psychiatry, Istanbul; 2Department of Psychiatry, Adiyaman Training and Research Hospital, Adiyaman, 3Firat University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, Elazig, Turkey

Background: The primary aim of the present study was to compare temperament and character traits and levels of alexithymia between patients with panic disorder and healthy controls.
Methods: Sixty patients with panic disorder admitted to the psychiatry clinic at Firat University Hospital were enrolled in the study, along with 62 healthy age-matched and sex-matched controls. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV axis I (SCID-I), Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI), Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), and Panic Agoraphobia Scale (PAS) were administered to all subjects.
Results: Within the temperament dimension, the mean subscale score for harm avoidance was significantly higher in patients with panic disorder than in controls. With respect to character traits, mean scores for self-directedness and cooperativeness were significantly lower than in healthy controls. Rates of alexithymia were 35% (n=21) and 11.3% (n=7) in patients with panic disorder and healthy controls, respectively. The difficulty identifying feelings subscale score was significantly higher in patients with panic disorder (P=0.03). A moderate positive correlation was identified between PAS and TAS scores (r=0.447, P<0.01). Moderately significant positive correlations were also noted for PAS and TCI subscale scores and scores for novelty seeking, harm avoidance, and self-transcendence.
Conclusion: In our study sample, patients with panic disorder and healthy controls differed in TCI parameters and rate of alexithymia. Larger prospective studies are required to assess for causal associations.

Keywords: panic disorder, temperament, character, personality, alexithymia

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