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Dominant temperament traits among the inmate population: a comparative study


Multiple studies document specific personality traits, relatively homogeneous in the structural aspect. We attempt to extrapolate a purely psychological examination approach, applying the clinical conceptualizations of H. Akiskal. This study aims to asses the existence of statistically significant differences between the TEMPS-A scale ratings of subjects serving a prison sentence and a control group.

Materials and methods

We examined a total of 148 patients divided into 2 groups, balanced in quantity and gender: an experimental (prison inmates) (N = 74) and a control group (N = 74). The experimental group included subjects serving sentences in penitentiary institutions within the Republic of Bulgaria's territory. The control group was randomly selected. The TEMPS-A scale was applied to subjects in both groups.


We found statistically significant differences between the average values in the two groups regarding all scales except for the Hyperthymic temperament.


The Hyperthimic temperament does not have a specific prognostic value regarding criminal behavior. This temperament can be expected to reflect the degree of adaptation. A question stands as to whether the TEMPS-A scales describe the temperament of premorbid personality or can register changes in the structure of personality as a consequence of substance abuse.


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Correspondence to Tony Donchev.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Donchev, T., Martinova, H., Milanova, V. et al. Dominant temperament traits among the inmate population: a comparative study. Ann Gen Psychiatry 9, S186 (2010).

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  • Public Health
  • Substance Abuse
  • Personality Trait
  • Multiple Study
  • Criminal Behavior