News Release

People with hypothyroidism and type D personality may be more likely to experience poor treatment outcomes

Researchers look to understand link between psychological and thyroid health

Peer-Reviewed Publication

The Endocrine Society

WASHINGTON—New research published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism finds a high prevalence of type D personality among people with hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Between 10-15% of people with treated hypothyroidism experience persistent symptoms despite achieving normal thyroid hormone levels, and the underlying causes are unclear.

Type D personality, which is characterized by pessimism, worry, stress, negative emotions and social withdrawal, is sometimes associated with poor health status and symptom burden, but this association has not previously been studied in people with hypothyroidism.

The researchers of the current study surveyed over 3,500 people with self-reported, treated hypothyroidism and found over half of these people had type D personality. They asked questions to better understand their quality of life and why some patients were dissatisfied with their treatment outcomes.

“People with hypothyroidism and type D personality may experience more negative treatment outcomes than those without type D personality,” said study author Petros Perros, M.D., of Newcastle University in Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K. “We think that there are two likely interpretations, which may not be mutually exclusive - type D personality and hypothyroidism share similar underlying causes, or people with type D personality may perceive treatment outcomes more negatively.”

They confirmed some patients with hypothyroidism were dissatisfied with their care and experienced persistent unexplained symptoms. People with hypothyroidism who had type D personality had particularly high levels of anxiety, depression, dissatisfaction with treatment, persistent symptoms and poor quality of life.

“Further research is needed to confirm our findings and determine if it is possible to predict how newly diagnosed patients with hypothyroidism will respond to treatment based on personality traits. If so, studies could be designed specifically for such patients, to determine if interventions can improve outcomes,” Perros said.

Other study authors include: Endre Vezekenyi Nagy of the University of Debrecen in Debrecen, Hungary; Enrico Papini of Regina Apostolorum Hospital, Albano in Rome, Italy; Juan Abad-Madroñero and Alan J. Poots of Picker Institute Europe in Oxford, England; Peter Lakwijk of the Thyroid Federation International in Hoofddorp, Netherlands; Floortje Mols of Tilburg University in Tilburg, Netherlands; and Laszlo Hegedüs of Odense University Hospital in Odense, Denmark.

The study was funded by the Institut Biochimique SA (IBSA).

The manuscript, “Hypothyroidism and Type D Personality: Results From E-MPATHY, A Cross-Sectional International Online Patient Survey," was published online, ahead print.

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