Detecting and treating schizophrenia early, even before symptoms occur, could lead to better treatment outcomes.
Previous studies have shown differences in social function and cognition among people who later develop symptoms of schizophrenia.
However, it has been known what personality traits could make people have a high risk of the disease.
In a study from Vanderbilt University, researchers found that people with inhibited temperament may have a higher risk of schizophrenia.
Inhibited temperament is a tendency to respond to novelty with wariness, fear or caution.
The finding suggests that inhibited temperament is a risk factor of the mental disease.
The personality trait could be targeted for preventative interventions, such as increasing their confidence and independence.
The study is published in Psychiatry Research. One author is Jennifer Blackford, Ph.D.
In the study, the team focused on inhibited temperament.
Temperament is comprised of the traits and generally stable characteristics of personality that we are born with.
Inhibited temperament is characterized by fear, distress, or withdrawal from new situations, environments, individuals, or objects.
Children with this personality tend to stop their activity and withdraw when confronted with an unfamiliar situation or person.
This temperament style seems to be stable and has been linked to the development of anxiety disorders, particularly social anxiety disorders.
In the study, the researchers compared the personality trait in patients with schizophrenia with healthy people.
All participants reported their childhood inhibited temperament, clinical symptoms, and quality of life.
The team found that schizophrenia patients had higher levels of inhibited temperament compared to healthy people.
Inhibited temperament was linked to mood and anxiety problems and lower quality of life, but it was not linked to psychosis symptoms.
The findings show that inhibited temperament may be a risk factor for schizophrenia that could be targeted for preventative interventions.
The researchers suggest patients with schizophrenia and inhibited temperament may benefit from treatments for anxiety and depression.
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