Altruism and antisocial behavior: Independent Tendencies, Unique Personality Correlates, Distinct Etiologies

Robert F. Krueger, Brian M. Hicks, Matt McGue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Scopus citations

Abstract

The relationship between altruism and antisocial behavior has received limited attention because altruism and antisocial behavior tend to be studied and discussed in distinct literatures. Our research bridges these literatures by focusing on three fundamental questions. First, are altruism and antisocial behavior opposite ends of a single dimension, or can they coexist in the same individual? Second, do altruism and antisocial behavior have the same or distinct etiologies? Third, do they stem from the same or from distinct aspects of a person's personality? Our findings indicate that altruism and antisocial behavior are uncorrelated tendencies stemming from different sources. Whereas altruism was linked primarily to shared (i.e., familial) environments, unique (i.e., nonfamilial) environments, and personality traits reflecting positive emotionality, antisocial behavior was linked primarily to genes, unique environments, and personality traits reflecting negative emotionality and a lack of constraint.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-402
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2001

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