An alternative view of psychological well-being in cardiac rehabilitation: considering temperament and character

David Carless, Kitrina Douglas, Kenneth Fox, Jim McKenna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Research suggests that personality is related to recovery from cardiac events, yet few conceptions of personality provide hope or possibility of improvement for patients with the least adaptive personality types. Psychobiological theory of personality has potential in this regard, but, to date, no research has investigated temperament and character in cardiac settings. Aim: To explore relationships between temperament, character and psychological well-being among cardiac patients. Method: Self-report questionnaires were distributed to a convenience sample of 81 cardiac patients to obtain data on personality (TCI [Cloninger CR, Przybeck T, Svrakic D, & Wetzel RD. The Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI): A guide to its development and use. St Louis (MO), Center for Psychobiology of Personality, Washington University;1994]), anxiety and depression (HADS [Zigmond AS, Snaith RP. The hospital anxiety and depression scale. Acta Psychiatr Scand 1983;67(6): 361–70]) and satisfaction with life [Diener E, Emmons RA, Larsen RJ, Griffin S. The satisfaction with life scale. J Pers Assess 1985;49(1):71–5]. Results: The interaction of two personality dimensions (harm avoidance and self-directedness) was significantly related to measures of psychological well-being. Patients with low self-directedness combined with high harm avoidance reported significantly higher levels of anxiety, depression and lower levels of satisfaction with life. Conclusion: This exploratory study suggests that psychobiological theory of personality may be useful for practitioners in cardiac rehabilitation seeking to identify patients at risk of poor psychological well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-243
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • temperament
  • character
  • personality
  • cardiac rehabilitation
  • psychological well-being


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