How temperament and character affect our career, relationships, and mental health

Fernando Gutiérrez, Miguel Gárriz, Josep M. Peri, Gemma Vall, Rafael Torrubia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Elsevier Inc. Background On the way toward an agreed dimensional taxonomy for personality disorders (PD), several pivotal questions remain unresolved. We need to know which dimensions produce problems and in what domains of life; whether impairment can be found at one or both extremes of each dimension; and whether, as is increasingly advocated, some dimensions measure personality functioning whereas others reflect style. Method To gain this understanding, we administered the Temperament and Character Inventory to a sample of 862 consecutively attended outpatients, mainly with PDs (61.2%). Using regression analysis, we examined the ability of personality to predict 39 variables from the Life Outcome Questionnaire concerning career, relationships, and mental health. Results Persistence stood out as the most important dimension regarding career success, with 24.2% of explained variance on average. Self-directedness was the best predictor of social functioning (21.1%), and harm avoidance regarding clinical problems (34.2%). Interpersonal dimensions such as reward dependence and cooperativeness were mostly inconsequential. In general, dimensions were detrimental only in one of their poles. Conclusions Although personality explains 9.4% of life problems overall, dimensions believed to measure functioning (character) were not better predictors than those measuring style (temperament). The notion that PD diagnoses can be built upon the concept of “personality functioning” is unsupported.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-189
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


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