Life events and personality in late adolescence: Genetic and environmental relations

John P. Billig, Scott L. Hershberger, William G. Iacono, Matt McGue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The relationship between life events and personality was investigated in the Minnesota Twin/Family Study, using 216 monozygotic and 114 dizygotic 17- year-old male twin pairs. Participants completed a life events interview designed for adolescents and the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire. Life events were categorized into three types: life events to which all members of a family would be subject and those affecting an individual, which can be broadly construed as either nonindependent or independent. Univariate genetic model fitting indicated the presence of significant genetic effects (h2 = 49%) for nonindependent nonfamily life events but not for the other two types of life events. Bivariate genetic model fitting further confirmed that the significant phenotypic correlation between nonindependent life events and personality is in part genetically mediated. Specifically, the findings suggest that genetically influenced individual differences in constraint play a substantial role in life events whose occurrence is not independent of the individual's behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-554
Number of pages12
JournalBehavior genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1996


  • Life events
  • adolescence
  • genetic
  • multivariate analysis
  • personality
  • twin- family study


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