Personality and perceived need for mental health care among primary care patients

W.M. Seekles, P. Cuijpers, P.M. van de Ven, B.W.J.H. Penninx, P. Verhaak, A.T.F. Beekman, A. van Straten

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although there are many forms of effective, evidence-based treatments available to patients with mood and anxiety disorders, many do not seek any help. Certain personality characteristics are associated with increased use of mental health services. The objective of this study is to examine whether personality traits are also related to patients' perceived need for (specific types of) mental health care. Methods: Cross-sectional data were derived from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). A total of 762 patients recruited from general practices, and who had been diagnosed with one or more DSM-IV diagnoses of anxiety and/or depression were included. Perceived need for mental health care was assessed with the Perceived Need for Care Questionnaire (PNCQ) and personality traits were assessed with the NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Results: We found indications that personality traits, in particular neuroticism and openness to experience, have an impact on care needs. Patients with higher scores on these traits were more likely to have a perceived need for care, irrespective of whether or not this need was met. Extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness were largely unrelated to perceived need for care. Conclusions: Regardless of the severity of anxiety and depression, personality is associated with need for care. This seems to be true for neuroticism, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness. Associations with these domains were found for various types of treatment. These findings suggest that patients with different levels of personality traits need different treatments. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-674
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of affective disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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