Genetic and Environmental Influences on Psychopathy Trait Dimensions in a Community Sample of Male Twins

Jeanette Taylor, Bryan R. Loney, Leonardo Bobadilla, William G. Iacono, Matt McGue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations

Abstract

Psychopathy appears to be comprised of two broad dimensions: impulsivity/antisocial behavior and interpersonal detachment/callousness. This study examined the extent to which variance in these 2 psychopathy trait dimensions was associated with common or unique genetic, shared, and nonshared environmental factors in two independent samples of reared together 16-18-year-old male twins. One sample included 142 monozygotic (MZ) and 70 dizygotic (DZ) pairs; the other sample included 128 MZ and 58 DZ pairs. Boys completed the Minnesota Temperament Inventory (MTI), a 19-item measure that contains separate subscales: Antisocial and Detachment. Variance in the Antisocial and Detachment scales was associated with additive genetic factors and neither scale was associated with shared environmental factors. As expected, the bivariate biometric analysis suggested genetic influence on the covariance of the scales. The results are consistent with theoretical models of psychopathy that posit some independence in the etiology of the two major trait dimensions of psychopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-645
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Volume31
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Genetic, twin
  • Psychopathy

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