A longitudinal study of the genetics of personality

Robert H. Dworkin, Barbara W. Burke, Brendan A. Maher, Irving I. Gottesman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Conducted a longitudinal twin study to determine whether personality traits with significant heritability in adolescence remain so in adulthood. A subsample of 42 twin pairs who had been administered the MMPI and the California Psychological Inventory in adolescence was readministered the same 2 inventories 12 yrs later. The subsample was found to be representative of the sample from which it was drawn (178 pairs of twins). Different patterns of significant heritability were found for the 2 ages studied. Several personality traits demonstrated evidence of significant heritability in either adolescence or adulthood, while others demonstrated evidence of significant heritability at both ages. In addition, genetic influences on the change from adolescence to adulthood were found for several personality traits. The results raise important questions for the interpretation of twin research and the understanding of genetic influences on personality development. (38 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-518
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1976
Externally publishedYes


  • development, adolescent twins tested 12 yrs later, longitudinal study
  • patterns of heritability of personality traits &


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