Emotional and personality changes following brain tumour resection

Lisanne M. Jenkins*, Katharine J. Drummond, David G. Andrewes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Psychological distress has a high prevalence in brain tumour patients, and understanding the emotional and personality changes that may follow neurosurgery is important for clinical management of these patients. We aimed to characterise these emotional and personality changes using subjective, observer-rated and clinical measures. We examined subjective changes in emotional experience and observer-rated changes to personality disturbances following neurosurgery for brain tumours (n = 44), compared to a control group that had undergone spinal surgery (n = 26). Participants completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and a Subjective Emotional Change Questionnaire. Observers who knew the patients well also completed the Iowa Rating Scale of Personality Change. Compared to controls, patients with tumours reported significantly more changes to their subjective experience of emotions following neurosurgery, particularly anger, disgust and sadness. For the observer-ratings, tumour patients were described as having significant changes in the personality disturbances of irritability, impulsivity, moodiness, inflexibility, and being easily overwhelmed. Anxiety and depression were not significantly different between groups. Neurosurgical resection of a brain tumour is a major life event that changes patients' subjective experiences of different emotions, and leads to observer-rated changes in personality. In this study, these changes were not accompanied by increases in anxiety or depression. We conclude with a discussion of biological and psychosocial mechanisms that can impact emotional functioning and personality in patients with brain tumours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-132
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain tumour
  • Depression
  • Emotion
  • Neuropsychology
  • Personality change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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