A study of affective temperaments in Hungary: internal consistency and concurrent validity of the TEMPS-A against the TCI and NEO-PI-R

Sándor Rózsa, Zoltán Rihmer, Xénia Gonda, Ilona Szili, Annamária Rihmer, Natasa Ko, Attila Németh, Péter Pestality, György Bagdy, Omar Alhassoon, Kareen K Akiskal, Hagop S Akiskal
Journal of Affective Disorders 2008, 106 (1): 45-53

BACKGROUND: TEMPS-A (Temperament Evaluation of the Memphis, Pisa, Paris and San Diego - Autoquestionnaire) is a new self-assessed temperament 110-item scale with depressive (D), cyclothymic (C), hyperthymic (H), irritable (I) and anxious (A) subscales. To date, it has been translated into 25 languages, and validated in 10. The present Hungarian version provides the most complete external validation across the Beck Depression Scale (BDI), Profile of Mood States (POMS), the BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory (BarOn EQ-i), Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI), and the NEO Personality Inventory - Revised (NEO-PI-R). We were particularly interested in concurrent validation against the TCI and the NEO-PI-R, the most important of the new personality instruments.

METHODS: 1132 clinically-well subjects (27% male) from the general population and university students (16-81 years) were administered the above scales and instruments. The data were tested with standard psychometric batteries.

RESULTS: Factor analysis revealed 5 factors approximating the original D, C, I, H, and A subscales, which in their superfactor confirmed an Emotional (D, C, I, A) vs. Hyperthymic structure. Except for the D (a=0.65), the Cronbach alpha for the remainder temperaments ranged from 0.75-0.81. Dominant temperaments ranged from the I (2.7%) to the C (4.2%); the highest prevalence was observed among men with C=6% and H=5.4%. The BDI and POMS correlated significantly with the relevant subscales, as did the BarOn. Of the many significant possible correlations with the TCI, the most noteworthy were novelty seeking and harm avoidance with D, A, C, as well as C, and persistence with H. As for the NEO-PI-R, we were struck by the positive correlation of openness with C, and conscientiousness negatively with C; most other positive correlations such as neuroticism with all temperaments but the hyperthymic were expected and strongly supportive of concurrent validity.

LIMITATIONS: Higher educational background of the subjects studied relative to that of the general population of Hungary. The distribution of the data may have in some instances deviated somewhat from the underlying assumptions for the standard psychometric tests for normality. We did not conduct test-retest reliability.

CONCLUSIONS: The factorial structure of the TEMPS-A shows good reliability and internal consistency. Although the superstructure is reminiscent of neuroticism-extraversion, within it are embedded discernible classical affective temperaments. A provocative finding is the high prevalence of cyclothymia in Hungarian males (6%), which is rather unique when compared with the other 10 countries studied to date. This finding, coupled with high male hyperthymia (5.4%), may explain the high lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorders reported from Hungary. Inter alia, our psychometric data along with the foregoing epidemiologic considerations, are very much in line with the cyclothymic-bipolar spectrum model proposed by the senior author [Akiskal, H.S., Djenderedjian, A.H., Rosenthal, R.H., Khani, M.K., 1977. Cyclothymic disorder: validating criteria for inclusion in the bipolar affective group. Am. J. Psychiatry 134, 1227-1233].

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