A longitudinal twin study of cluster A personality disorders

K. S. Kendler, S. H. Aggen, M. C. Neale, G. P. Knudsen, R. F. Krueger, K. Tambs, N. Czajkowski, E. Ystrom, R. E. Orstavik, T. Reichborn-Kjennerud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background While cluster A personality disorders (PDs) have been shown to be moderately heritable, we know little about the temporal stability of these genetic risk factors. Method Paranoid PD (PPD) and schizotypal PD (STPD) were assessed using the Structured Interview for DSM-IV Personality in 2793 young adult twins from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health Twin Panel at wave 1 and 2282 twins on average 10 years later at wave 2. Using the program Mx, we fitted a longitudinal latent factor model using the number of endorsed criteria for PPD and STPD. Results The stability over time of the criteria counts for PPD and STPD, estimated as polychoric correlations, were +0.34 and +0.40, respectively. The best-fit longitudinal model included only additive genetic and individual-specific environmental factors with parameter estimates constrained to equality across the two waves. The cross-wave genetic and individual-specific environmental correlations for a latent cluster A factor were estimated to equal +1.00 and +0.13, respectively. The cross-time correlations for genetic and environmental effects specific to the individual PDs were estimated at +1.00 and +0.16-0.20, respectively. We found that 68% and 71% of the temporal stability of PPD and STPD derived, respectively, from the effect of genetic factors. Conclusion Shared genetic risk factors for two of the cluster A PDs are highly stable in adults over a 10-year period while environmental risk factors are relatively transient. Over two-thirds of the long-term stability of the common cluster A PD liability can be attributed to genetic influences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1531-1538
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - May 28 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Cambridge University Press.


  • Cluster A personality disorders
  • longitudinal studies
  • paranoid personality disorder
  • personality disorders
  • schizotypal personality disorder


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