A systematic review of personality temperament models related to somatoform disorder with main focus on meta-analysis of Cloninger’s theory components


The systematic review aims to identify four personality temperament models related to somatoform disorder with the main focus on the meta-analysis of temperaments and characters in Cloninger’s theory. The literature search was performed on PubMed (Medline), Scopus, Web of Science, Cochrane, and ProQuest for all articles published in English from January 1990 to April 2019. Due to heterogeneity, pooled estimates of the standard mean difference between cases and controls were calculated using the random-effects model. Based on our inclusion criteria, 14 studies were identified, 7 of which were included in the meta-analysis. The results show that there is a significant difference between cases and controls with regard to harm avoidance (HA) (z = 5.322, P < 0.001), self-directedness (z = -4.719, P < 0.001), and self-transcendence (z = 2.848, P = 0.004). Compared to controls, HA and self-transcendence were higher and self-directedness was lower in cases. With regard to other subscales, there was no difference between the two groups (P > 0.05). The publication bias was not seen (P > 0.05 for Egger statistics). Up to now, very few studies have been focused on the relationship between personality temperament models and somatoform disorder. Among the components of the Cloninger’s model, the poor self-directedness along with the abnormally high self-transcendence and HA is the personality component related to the somatoform disorder. Thus, Cloninger’s model may potentially draw a personality profile for vulnerability to somatoform disorder. Given the limited number of studies available, future studies may challenge the results of the present study.

Keywords: Character; personality; somatic symptom; somatoform disorder; temperament.

Conflict of interest statement

There are no conflicts of interest.