Temperament and character as predictors of fatigue-induced symptoms among school children in Japan: a 1-year follow-up study

Department of Physiology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka 545-8585, Japan.
Comprehensive psychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.25). 05/2010; 51(3):256-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2009.08.001
Source: PubMed


This 1-year follow-up study was performed to examine the association of temperament and character dimensions with new onset of fatigue-induced symptoms among school children in Japan, focusing on the transition from childhood to early adolescence.
This study prospectively reviewed data from 1512 school children from four elementary and four junior high schools in Japan. The survey was conducted in 2006 and 2007. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the association of psychological dimensions, assessed by the Junior Temperament and Character Inventory, with fatigue-induced symptoms.
The correlation between temperament and character dimensions with new-onset of fatigue-induced symptoms differed as the students advanced into higher grades. In terms of physical symptoms in males, traits correlated with fatigue-induced symptoms included Novelty Seeking (headaches OR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.07-1.73) or Reward Dependence (extreme tiredness OR, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.09-3.12; muscle weakness OR, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.28-4.20) during elementary school, whereas in females, Novelty Seeking was mainly associated with both physical (morning fatigue OR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.10-1.77; headaches OR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.04-1.43) and mental (mood changes OR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.09-1.56) symptoms. Among ninth graders, more mental symptoms of fatigue were associated with Harm Avoidance (males, poor motivation OR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.02-1.42; females, mood changes OR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.06-1.49) and Self Directedness (males, poor motivation OR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.59-0.96; females, difficulty thinking OR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.62-0.98).
Confirmation that the correlation between personality traits and fatigue-induced symptoms changes with grade at school has implications for screening susceptible children and adolescents and may help prevent the occurrence of such symptoms at an early stage.

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