Background: Although there have been numerous reports in personality of mood disorders, there have been few reports in regard with personality of winter seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Furthermore, no reports have been published concerning summer SAD personality characteristics. Thus, this study was conducted to assess the personality of winter and summer SAD using Tri-dimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ) that have been used in a variety of mental disorders. Methods: A total of 6135 Japanese were evaluated with TPQ, the Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ) and the Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS). Winter, summer and non-SAD groups were classified by SPAQ. We compared the difference of personality trait among these three groups in consideration of gender, age and SDS score influence. Results: Winter SAD demonstrated higher "Novelty Seeking" and "Harm Avoidance"; summer SAD showed higher "Harm Avoidance" than the non-SAD group. "Harm Avoidance" in both SAD groups was re-analyzed using SDS score as a covariate, and "Novelty Seeking" in winter SAD using age as a covariate. As a result, the significance of high "Novelty Seeking" and high "Harm Avoidance" in winter SAD was excluded. However, "Harm Avoidance" remained the significant difference between summer and non-SAD. Limitation: SAD was diagnosed only by SPAQ and not by interview. The state-dependency of "Harm Avoidance" was not confirmed in identical patients over lapse of time. Conclusion: Patients with winter SAD have high "Harm Avoidance" dependent on the depressive state that is in accordance with non-seasonal depression. Patients with summer SAD have high "Harm Avoidance" possibly independent from the depressive state.
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