Childhood temperament is associated with distress, anxiety and reduced quality of life in schizophrenia spectrum disorders

Brandee Feola, Kristan Armstrong, Neil D. Woodward, Stephan Heckers, Jennifer Urbano Blackford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Schizophrenia is conceptualized as a neurodevelopmental disorder and pre-morbid differences in social function and cognition have been well-established. Less is known about pre-morbid temperament and personality. Inhibited temperament—the predisposition to respond to novelty with wariness, fear, or caution—is a premorbid risk factor for anxiety, depression, and substance use but is understudied in schizophrenia. Participants were patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (n = 166) and healthy controls (n = 180). Patients completed measures of childhood inhibited temperament, clinical symptoms (anxiety, depression, PANSS factors), and quality of life. Patients had significantly higher levels of inhibited temperament relative to healthy controls. In patients with schizophrenia, higher inhibited temperament was significantly associated with co-morbid anxiety disorders, greater anxiety and depression symptoms, higher PANSS Distress scores, lower PANSS Excitement scores, and lower quality of life. The current findings replicate and extend previous research with a larger sample and are consistent with vulnerability in an affective path to psychosis. In schizophrenia, higher inhibited temperament was associated with a cluster of mood and anxiety symptoms. Inhibited temperament was not associated with psychosis symptoms. Patients with high inhibited temperament may especially benefit from treatments that specifically target anxiety and depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-203
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Personality
  • Psychosis
  • Social anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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