BACKGROUND: Kraepelin and Kretschmer hypothesized a continuum between full-blown affective pathology and premorbid temperaments. More recently Akiskal proposed a putative adaptive role for the four fundamental temperaments: the hyperthymic one characterized by emotional intensity, the cyclothymic one by emotional instability, the depressive one by a low energy level, and the irritable one by an excessive response to stimuli. Today it is widely debated whether affective temperaments belong to the domain of pathology or to that of normality.
PURPOSE: To make clear, by applying an integrated model, the position of affective temperaments within the continuum between normality and pathology.
METHODS: We reviewed several papers that explore the distribution of affective temperaments among the general population, and their involvement both in pathological conditions (somatic and psychiatric) and in human activities (professions and other occupations).
RESULTS: Far from being intrinsically pathological conditions, affective temperaments seem to represent adaptive dispositions whose dysregulation can lead to full-blown affective pathology. All the temperamental types display some impact on people’s lives by influencing personal skills and professional choices over a wide field of human activities.
CONCLUSIONS: Affective temperaments are not problematic when they appear in a mild form, but when they occur in extreme form we have observed a gap between the hyperthymic temperament, which represents the most functional and desirable, and the cyclothymic, depressive, irritable and phobic anxious ones, which are closer to mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders, and imply a component of somatic diseases and life stressors.Free PDF Download
To cite this article
L. Rovai, A.G.I. Maremmani, F. Rugani, S. Bacciardi, M. Pacini, L. Dell’Osso, H.S. Akiskal, I. Maremmani
Do Akiskal & Mallya’s affective temperaments belong to the domain of pathology or to that of normality?
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Vol. 17 - N. 15