The genetic and environmental sources of resemblance between normative personality and personality disorder traits

Kenneth S. Kendler, S. H. Aggen, Nathan Gillespie, M. C. Neale, G. P. Knudsen, R. F. Krueger, Nikolai Czajkowski, Eivind Ystrom, T. Reichborn-Kjennerud

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11 Scopus citations


Recent work has suggested a high level of congruence between normative personality, most typically represented by the “big five” factors, and abnormal personality traits. In 2,293 Norwegian adult twins ascertained from a population-based registry, the authors evaluated the degree of sharing of genetic and environmental influences on normative personality, assessed by the Big Five Inventory (BFI), and personality disorder traits (PDTs), assessed by the Personality Inventory for DSM-5-Norwegian Brief Form (PID-5- NBF). For four of the five BFI dimensions, the strongest genetic correlation was observed with the expected PID-5-NBF dimension (e.g., neuroticism with negative affectivity [+], conscientiousness with disinhibition [−]). However, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness had substantial genetic correlations with other PID-5-NBF dimensions (e.g., neuroticism with compulsivity [+], agreeableness with detachment [−]). Openness had no substantial genetic correlations with any PID-5-NBF dimension. The proportion of genetic risk factors shared in aggregate between the BFI traits and the PID-5-NBF dimensions was quite high for conscientiousness and neuroticism, relatively robust for extraversion and agreeableness, but quite low for openness. Of the six PID-5-NBF dimensions, three (negative affectivity, detachment, and disinhibition) shared, in aggregate, most of their genetic risk factors with normative personality traits. Genetic factors underlying psychoticism, antagonism, and compulsivity were shared to a lesser extent, suggesting that they are influenced by etiological factors not well indexed by the BFI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-207
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of personality disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2017

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© 2017 The Guilford Press.


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