Anxious, introverted personality traits in patients with chronic subjective dizziness

Jeffrey P. Staab, Daniel E. Rohe, Scott D.Z. Eggers, Neil T. Shepard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Objectives: Chronic subjective dizziness (CSD) is a neurotologic disorder of persistent non-vertiginous dizziness, unsteadiness, and hypersensitivity to one's own motion or exposure to complex visual stimuli. CSD usually follows acute attacks of vertigo or dizziness and is thought to arise from patients' failure to re-establish normal locomotor control strategies after resolution of acute vestibular symptoms. Pre-existing anxiety or anxiety diathesis may be risk factors for CSD. This study tested the hypothesis that patients with CSD are more likely than individuals with other chronic neurotologic illnesses to possess anxious, introverted personality traits. Methods: Data were abstracted retrospectively from medical records of 40 patients who underwent multidisciplinary neurotology evaluations for chronic dizziness. Twenty-four subjects had CSD. Sixteen had chronic medical conditions other than CSD plus co-existing anxiety disorders. Group differences in demographics, Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI) scores, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) scores, DSM-IV diagnoses, personality traits measured with the NEO Personality Inventory - Revised (NEO-PI-R), and temperaments composed of NEO-PI-R facets were examined. Results: There were no differences between groups in demographics, mean DHI or HADS-anxiety scores, or DSM-IV diagnoses. The CSD group had higher mean HADS-depression and NEO-PI-R trait anxiety, but lower NEO-PI-R extraversion, warmth, positive emotions, openness to feelings, and trust (all p. <. 0.05). CSD subjects were significantly more likely than comparison subjects to have a composite temperament of high trait anxiety plus low warmth or excitement seeking. Conclusion: An anxious, introverted temperament is strongly associated with CSD and may be a risk factor for developing this syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-83
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Anxiety
  • Chronic dizziness
  • Introversion
  • Neuroticism
  • Risk factor
  • Temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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