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Ingrid Melle Valentina Cabral Iversen Knut Hestad

Personality traits, interpersonal problems and therapeutic alliance in early schizophrenia

Comprehensive Psychiatry. Volume 54, Issue 8 | 2013


Background: The quality of the therapeutic alliance is associated with engagement in- and thus important to the outcome of- treatment in schizophrenia. In non-psychotic disorders, general personality traits and individual patterns of interpersonal problems have been linked to the formation and quality of the therapeutic alliance. The role of these factors in relation to therapeutic alliance has not previously been explored in schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

Aim: To investigate associations between personality traits, interpersonal problems and the quality of the therapeutic alliance in early schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

Methods: Demographic and clinical characteristics including Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) scores were assessed in 42 patients. Personality traits and interpersonal problems were assessed with the NEO Five factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) and the circumplex model of the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (IIP-64C). Therapeutic alliance was measured with the Working Alliance Inventory – short form (WAI-S).

Results: Patient WAI-S scores were predicted by IIP-64C Submissive/Hostile interpersonal problems, age and PANSS excitative symptoms. Therapist WAI-S scores were predicted by NEO-FFI Agreeableness and the PANSS insight item.

Conclusion: Core traits of personality and dimensions of interpersonal problems are associated with both patients' and therapists' perceptions of the quality of the working alliance.