Patients with myasthenia gravis (MG) have significantly higher levels of neuroticism and significantly lower levels of openness and extraversion, according to a new study published in the journal Brain and Behavior.
These personality traits “may contribute considerably to the perception of disease severity,” the authors said. “It may also be related to frequent comorbidities such as anxiety and depression.”
Read more about MG comorbidities
To characterize the personality traits of patients with MG and identify the possible link between these personality traits and the course and severity of the disease, a research team analyzed 44 patients with MG using the Big 5 Inventory data questionnaire and compared them to 45 healthy volunteers.
The team assessed the patients in terms of personality before the manifestation of the disease and their present condition. They also tested their anxiety and depression levels using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and Beck Anxiety Inventory.
The results showed that patients with MG had significantly higher levels of neuroticism compared to healthy volunteers, whereas their openness and extraversion were significantly reduced.
There were no differences in terms of agreeableness and conscientiousness between the 2 groups.
The researchers also reported that neuroticism was associated with the severity of the disease such as the generalization of the weakness, the presence of thymoma, and bulbar involvement, as well as the duration of the disease.
Current neuroticism was also associated with the level of neuroticism before the manifestation of the disease, as well as patients’ depression and anxiety scores.
“Although premorbid levels of neuroticism were increased, this characteristic may also increase considerably during the course of the disease,” the researchers wrote. “A [psychologic] and behavioral intervention in addition to the specific [pharmacologic] therapy might be of particular value,” they added.
This article originally appeared on Rare Disease Advisor
Jordan B, Förster L, Buchholz T, Sperfeld AD, Zierz S. Personality factors in patients with myasthenia gravis: a prospective study. Brain Behav. Published online August 22, 2023. doi:10.1002/brb3.3228