ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2023, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (5): 740-751.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00740

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Personality subtypes of depressive disorders and their functional connectivity basis

LI Yu1,2,3, WEI Dongtao1,2, QIU Jiang1,2()   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Ministry of Education, Southwest University
    2Department of Psychology, Southwest University
    3Faculty of Education, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
  • Published:2023-05-25 Online:2023-02-14
  • Contact: QIU Jiang


Heterogeneity among mental health issues has always attracted considerable attention, thereby restricting research on mental health and cognitive neuroscience. Additionally, the person-centred approach to personality research, which emphasizes population heterogeneity, has received more attention. On the other hand, the heterogeneity among depressive patients has been a problem that cannot be ignored (most studies ignored the actual situation and directly assumed sample homogeneity). A large number of empirical studies have provided evidence that isolated personality traits are often associated with depression. Only a few studies have considered the probable effect from a taxonomy perspective. Moreover, the neural mechanisms of personality types in depression remain unclear. This study aimed to reveal different personality subtypes of depressive disorders and elucidate subtypes from the perspective of resting-state functional connectivity.

Personality and resting-state functional imaging data of 159 depressive patients and 156 controls were collected. Demographic characteristics are shown in Table 1. First, combined with “depression diagnosis”, the personality types in depressive patients and controls were identified through functional random forest. Specifically, neuroticism and extraversion (input features) were fitted with the diagnosis of depression by a random forest model. The random seeds were set to 1234, and 500 decision trees were fitted. The performance of the model was evaluated by tenfold cross-validation. Subsequently, the random forest algorithm generated a proximity matrix that represented the similarity between paired participants. Then, based on the proximity matrix, community detection clustering analysis was conducted on depressive patients and controls, and personality types associated with depression diagnosis were obtained. Finally, we selected the amygdala, hippocampus, insula (AAL atlas) and limbic network, default network, and control network (Schaefer-Yeo template) as regions of interest and calculated the functional connectivity of the subcortical regions to the networks. ANOVA was used to compare resting-state functional connectivity between the personality types.

The results showed the following. (1) Depression was more common among individuals with high neuroticism and low extraversion tendencies, but there were also individuals with low neuroticism and high extraversion tendencies. The controls were more likely to be individuals with low neuroticism and high extraversion (see Figure 1). (2) The results of resting-state functional connectivity showed no significant difference between depression and controls. (3) The functional connectivity strength of the left amygdala-limbic network (F(6, 214) = 4.273, p = 0.0004, threshold-controlling FDR at 0.05/6) and left insula-limbic network (F(6, 214) = 4.177, p = 0.0005, threshold-controlling FDR at 0.05/6) was significantly different across personality subtypes. The post-hoc tests are presented in Table 2, Figure 2 and Figure3.

In summary, the personality subtypes of depression identified by person-centred perspectives are more in line with reality and individual cognitive patterns, and they have potential clinical adaptive value. The findings of this study enhance the understanding of heterogeneity among depressive disorders.

Key words: neuroticism, extraversion, resting-state functional connectivity, depressive disorders, person-centred