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Vulvovestibulitis syndrome: the role of temperament and mood in women

Carmela Mento, Salvatore Settineri, Maria Le Donne, Amelia Rizzo, Giovanna Spanò


Background: Recent literature highlights how some psychological factors could play a key role in the development and course of gynaecological illnesses by influencing health-related outcomes. Nevertheless, little is known about the influence of the temperament and character traits and depressive symptoms in women’s health.

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate psychological patterns in terms of personality and mood, among women with vulvovaginal disorders and women with other general gynaecological conditions.

Methods: Thirty-two women suffering from vulvar vestibulitis (VVS) and 34 suffering from other gynaecological disorders (Mean age = 49±17) have been evaluated with the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) and the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS).

Results: With reference to personality, women with VVS obtained a higher score on the temperamental trait of Harm Avoidance showing a disposition to face problems with pessimistic thoughts and a vulnerability for anxiety and fatigue. With reference to mood, women with VVS reported a higher number of depressive symptoms. Furthermore, the dimensions of temperament are significantly related to the mood in the whole sample.

Conclusions: Women with VVS present specific psychological patterns (temperament, character and mood) that could have an impact in the development and/or duration of the disease. For this reason, in addition to traditional medical treatments, a psychological support focused on anxiety and depression management would be useful for a broader and person-centered approach to attending gynecological patients.


Depressive symptoms, illness, intimate relationships, mood, pain, person-centered healthcare, psychosocial illness, stress, temperament, vulvodynia, vulvovaginal disease, vulvovestibulitis syndrome

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