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January 2022

The subaffective-character spectrum subtyping distinction in primary early-onset dysthymia: A clinical and family study

Author(s): Klein, D. N., Riso, L. P., Ouimette, P. C., Lizardi, H., Schwartz, J. E.

Journal/Book: J Affective Disord. 1996; 38: PO Box 211, 1000 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands. Elsevier Science BV. 13-22.

Abstract: In 1983, Akiskal proposed that primary early-onset dysthymia should be divided into two subtypes: subaffective dysthymia, which is a subsyndromal form of major mood disorder; and character spectrum disorder, which is a form of personality disorder with secondary dysphoria. The present study attempted to validate this distinction. Akiskal's (1983) criteria were applied to a sample of 97 early-onset dysthymic outpatients, yielding groups of 41 subaffective and 56 character spectrum patients. Patients were evaluated using structured interviews for Axis I and II disorders, family history of psychopathology, and the early home environment, and a comprehensive battery of questionnaires. In addition, direct and family history interviews were conducted with their first-degree relatives. There was mixed support for Akiskal's typology. Consistent with the model, subaffectives exhibited higher rates of major depression, depressive symptoms, and a number of depressive personality and cognitive features. In addition, there was a higher rate of alcoholism among the relatives of character spectrum patients. However, contrary to Akiskal's model, the groups did not differ on gender, unstable, personality disorders, family history of mood disorders, or the early home environment.

Note: Article DN Klein, SUNY Stony Brook, Dept Psychol, Stony Brook, NY 11794 USA

Keyword(s): dysthymia; chronic depression; classification of depression; PARENTAL BONDING INSTRUMENT; DEPRESSIVE PERSONALITY; DSM-III; DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA; SELF-REPORT; DISORDER; SCALE; RELIABILITY; VALIDITY


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