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Lindsey ClarkFollow


Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been associated with certain personality characteristics, including low novelty seeking and high harm avoidance, but examination of the literature reveals mixed results. One limitation of studies to date is their failure to examine gender differences or to even include both male and female participants in their studies. The aim of the present study was to examine gender differences in personality traits among individuals with and without PD. Twenty-three non-demented PD patients (12F/11M) and 21 age and education matched normal control adults (NC; 11F/10M) were administered the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI), a 240-item self-report questionnaire assessing four dimensions of temperament (Novelty Seeking, Harm Avoidance, Reward Dependence, and Persistence) and three dimensions of character (Self-Directedness, Cooperativeness and Self-Transcendence). There were no PD-NC differences on any of the four temperament scales. On the character scales, PD patients were significantly more cooperative than NC but comparable in self-directedness and self-transcendence. When groups were broken down by gender, women with PD, when compared to men with PD and NC women, had significantly higher scores on reward dependence (temperament) and cooperativeness (character). There were no significant differences across any of the scales between men in the PD and NC groups. These findings extend the literature on personality traits in PD by documenting the role of gender in both temperament and character profiles, and highlight the importance of examining male-female differences in studies of personality in PD.

Note on the Author

Lindsey Clark graduated summa cum laude from Bridgewater State University in May of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Her research project was completed in the spring of 2014 under the mentorship of Dr. Sandra Neargarder (Psychology). The project was made possible with funding provided by an Adrian Tinsley Program summer research grant and semester grant. Lindsey presented this paper at the 2014 Cognitive Aging Conference in Atlanta, GA.

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