In a recent study published in Psychiatry Research, researchers found that people with inhibited temperament may have a higher risk of schizophrenia.
They suggest that inhibited temperament is a risk factor of mental disease and that it could be targeted for preventative interventions, such as increasing their confidence and independence.
The research is from Vanderbilt University. One author is Jennifer Blackford, Ph.D.
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.
In the study, the team focused on inhibited temperament, a tendency to respond to novelty with wariness, fear or caution.
Temperament is comprised of the traits and generally stable characteristics of the personality that we are born with.
Inhibited temperament (also known as behavioral inhibition) is characterized by fear, distress, or withdrawal from new situations, environments, individuals, or objects.
Children with behavioral inhibition 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 future development of anxiety disorders, particularly social anxiety disorders.
In the study, the researchers compared the personality trait in patients with schizophrenia compared to healthy controls.
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 symptoms and lower quality of life, but it was not linked to psychosis symptoms.
The team says that inhibited temperament may be a risk factor for schizophrenia that could be targeted for preventative interventions.
They also suggest that patients with schizophrenia and inhibited temperament may benefit from treatments for anxiety and depression.
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