4 Personality Traits More Prone To Depression

Understanding the association between personality and depression helps in determining the causes of depression, identifying at-risk individuals, and designing best treatment approach for individuals. For depression treatment, getting to know the personality types is a good measure to know those who are more vulnerable to depression, as well as in rolling out the best depression therapy.

Several studies talked about the importance of understanding the role of personality traits in depression treatment: personality types appear to contribute to the onset and course of depression through a variety of pathways.

Some of the earlier findings include that which was conducted by Daniel N. Klein of the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, State University of New York at Stony Brook; on the explanatory models and review of the evidence. A recent study was also conducted by researchers from University of Western Ontario on the Personality and Individual Differences.

Given the documented relevance of personality in our understanding of depression, it is imperative to continue to assess the individual difference variables that contribute to the development and maintenance of depression, in order to develop multi-faceted assessment tools to aid in the more effective recognition and treatment of depressive symptoms,” the authors said.

The recent study seeks to determine which among the four maladaptive personality traits listed below was most highly predictive of depression:


Those who have this trait tend to maintain very high standards of performance and refuse to accept any standard less than flawless: the need to be or appear perfect.

Perfectionism has an element of pressure combined with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.

Perfectionism comes in 3-dimensions:

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the self-oriented – an internally motivated desire to be perfect,

other-oriented – tendency to demand perfection from others,

socially-prescribed – bearing the belief that others will value you only if you are perfect.


This is a painful state of humiliation or distress caused by the perceived discrepancy between the ideal self and the actual self.

Excessive shame can be associated with poor psychological adjustment, interpersonal difficulties, and overall poor life functioning – as a result of responding to an error.


Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns.

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This is considered too bad, if it occurs in the absence of any perceivable stressor.

Difficulty accepting the past

Living with regret makes it difficult for individuals to focus on the present, often leading to a chronic dissatisfaction, the authors said.

According to the researchers, anxiety anxiety was the strongest predictor of symptoms for major depressive disorders, closely followed by difficulty accepting the past.

These results may aid health professionals in assessing personality profiles and personalize a treatment plan, the authors concluded.


Malinowski, A. S., Veselka, L., & Atkinson, B. E. An investigation of vulnerability factors for depression. Personality and Individual Differences. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2016.11.049
Shame in the Therapy Hour -  Ronda L. Dearing, PhD, and June Price Tangney, PhD: 
Daniel N. Klein, Roman Kotov. Personality and Depression: Explanatory Models and Review of the Evidence. doi:  10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032210-104540

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