Family differences in personality: A multigenerational study of 67 families

M. Lundberg, T. Forsgren, T. Przybeck, R. Cloninger, P. Raeymaeker, R. Adolfsson

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    Over 1,300 subjects from 67 families, which all consist of four to five generations, were screened with the Swedish standardized version of the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) as a part of the North Swedish Family Study of Personality. A total of 1,130 TCI tests were validated. Parallel with the personality screening, blood and epidemiological data were collected from the subjects, including symptom checklists for psychopathology. In this population, the means and SD for the seven personality dimensions of Novelty Seeking, Harm Avoidance, Reward Dependence, Persistence, Self Directedness, Cooperativeness, and Self Transcendence were 20.4 (6.1), 12.4, (6.3), 14.9 (3.9), 4.1 (1.9), 32.5 (6.0), 33.7 (5.9), and 13.1 (6.2). When calculating family means for the largest families (25 families with ≥2,0 valid TCI), large variations in all seven personality dimensions between the families were evident. Family identifications as, e.g., very "harm avoidant" were possible. When categorizing the personality dimensions in Temperament (NS, HA, RD) and Character types (SD, C, ST), big variations were found in distributions between the families. According to previous research, these results indicate that some families are likely to be more vulnerable to psychopathology than others. The results of personality traits and psychopathology between and within the families will serve as a base for further studies on the role of gene-environmental interactions for the understanding of the development of psychopathology. Furthermore, the quantitative measure of each personality dimension, assessed in four to five generations, will be the base for future linkage studies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)492
    Number of pages1
    JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics - Neuropsychiatric Genetics
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Nov 6 1998


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