BackgroundNegative cognitive styles (habitual approach to processing information) and neurotic personality traits reported in affective disorders may have important therapeutic implications in both bipolar and unipolar disorder.MethodsWe evaluated negative cognitive style and personality (extraversion and neuroticism) in 199 participants with affective disorder (76 bipolar, 123 unipolar) and 124 at six month follow-up (55 bipolar, 69 unipolar). Participants completed self report measures of negative cognitive style, personality and quality of life, complemented by observer ratings of affective symptoms and global functioning. ResultsNegative cognitive style at baseline was predictive of worse global functioning and quality of life ratings at six months., but not affective symptoms (which were better predicted by extraversion). Examining the bipolar and unipolar groups separately, negative cognitive style was predictive of six month outcomes in quality of life and global functioning in the latter group only.ConclusionsNegative cognitive style does not predict affective symptoms in this report. It does however predict global functioning and self reported quality of life in unipolar patients in particular. Personality, does not predict symptomatic or functional outcomes at six months in this sample. Implications for therapy are considered.