Personality traits are significant factors in the development and course of depression. Apart from the classical five-factor model of personality, other personality constellations, such as Tellenbach’s Typus melancholicus, have been described in association with depressive disorder. Several instruments have been developed to assess the Typus melancholicus personality (TMP). A systematic comparison of these instruments has not been done to date. The goal of this study was the comparison of four questionnaires used in assessing TMP. Four TMP questionnaires were compared and their relationship to the five-factor model of personality was examined among 264 psychiatric patients and normal controls. It was found that the TMP type represents a trait distinct from those of the five-factor model. TMP inventories had only moderate concurrent validity. The single TMP scales focus on different aspects of the TMP, despite their common core. Both the five-factor personality traits and the TMP scales were able to differentiate a group of depressed patients from control groups. The results show that TMP is not one trait but a personality trait constellation. This leads to the conclusion that a number of dimensions must be taken into consideration in the construction of a TMP inventory. This multidimensionality contributes to the refinement of the TMP concept and differentiates its therapeutic implications.

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