Background: To investigate the effect of the personality traits on development of acute mountain sickness (AMS).
Methods: One hundred and eighty-nine healthy male subjects transported from the plains (Chengdu, China) to high altitude area (Tibet, China) were enrolled in this study. Ninety-six subjects experienced AMS within two days after arriving at the Tibet plateau (AMS group). There were 93 subjects without AMS (healthy control without AMS group). The symptoms of AMS, state trait anxiety and personality traits of subjects were assessed using self-assessment and AMS questionnaire (Chinese criteria).
Results: The AMS group had a significantly higher prevalence of self-assessed anxiety, compared with the healthy control group without AMS. Personality traits estimation based on data obtained by Eysenck personality questionnaire revealed higher neuroticism and extraversion scores in the AMS group. Neuroticism, extraversion and anxiety level expressed highly significant levels of mutual concordance.
Conclusion: The anxiety level was the highest in patients with AMS and it corroborated with neuroticism and extraversion level from Eysenck scale. Psychological disturbances and extraversion can affect the development of AMS in rapid entry population. It would be helpful for people with anxiety-trait or personality traits to deal with the stress, in order to decrease the risk of developing AMS.