To the top

Page Manager: Webmaster
Last update: 9/11/2012 3:13 PM

Tell a friend about this page
Print version

Temperament and Character… - University of Gothenburg, Sweden Till startsida
To content Read more about how we use cookies on

Temperament and Character in Twin-Pairs Diagnosed with ADHD and ASD

Authors Danilo Garcia
C. Robert Cloninger
Henrik Anckarsäter
Published in 167th American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, New York, New York, USA.
Publication year 2014
Published at Centre for Ethics, Law, and Mental Health
Language en
Keywords ADHD; Autism; Character; Self-directedness; Temperament
Subject categories Psychiatry, Psychology


Background: Cloninger’s model of personality comprises four temperament (Novelty Seeking, Harm Avoidance, Reward Dependence, and Persistence) and three character dimensions (Self-directedness, Cooperativeness, and Self-transcendence). These dimensions are associated to attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Specific combinations of temperament dimensions are associated to each disorder, while Self-directedness and Cooperativeness are negatively related to both types of disorders. Nevertheless, low levels of autonomy, responsibility, and self-control (i.e., Self-directedness) and low levels of helpful behavior, empathy, and care for others (i.e., Cooperativeness) might as well be epiphenomena of the disorder. We used a twin-pair method to (1) examine the familiality of the seven personality dimensions, and (2) whether this could be related to the genetic vulnerability to develop ADHD and/or ASD. Method: Probands diagnosed with either ADHD (n = 74) or ASD (n = 21) (D-probands) and their co-twins (D-cotwin) were identified from the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden. The controls (C-probands) and their co-twins (C-cotwin) were 729 twin-pairs who do not reach diagnosis criteria. We used Pearson correlations between twins to analyze the relationship between personality dimensions among twin-pairs. By examining D-cotwins and C-cotwins who do not reach diagnosis criteria we disentangled a genetic relationship between personality traits and the disorder⎯the co-twin of twins diagnosed with a disorder who do not reach diagnosis criteria themselves, yet share at least 50% of their genes with the disordered twin, should differ in the character measures when compared with the non-diagnosed co-twins of healthy controls. Although the non-diagnosed D-cotwins did not express the phenotype for ADHD, they should have more ADHD vulnerability genes than individuals with no relation to a D-proband (i.e., C-cotwins). Results: All seven personality dimensions were significantly correlated across twin-pairs with coefficients ranging from .30 for Novelty Seeking to .51 for Cooperativeness. The non-diagnosed C-cotwins reported higher Self-directedness (t = 2.96, df = 737, p = .003) and lower Self-transcendence (t = -2.35, df = 737, p = .019) than the non-diagnosed D-cotwins. The mean scores of the non-diagnosed D-cotwins for these character traits were between those of the D-probands and the non-diagnosed C-cotwins. Suggesting that, at least these two scales, have trait-like characteristics related to familial vulnerability to ADHD. Self-directedness goes down, while Self-transcendence goes up in individuals diagnosed with ADHD. Conclusions: There is a weak/moderate effect size for Self-directedness and Self-transcendence in causation of ADHD and ASD. The combination of low Self-directedness and high Self-transcendence, for instance, predisposes to magical thinking in that imagination is not constrained by reality testing.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

The University of Gothenburg uses cookies to provide you with the best possible user experience. By continuing on this website, you approve of our use of cookies.  What are cookies?