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Behav Genet. 2009 Jan;39(1):24-35. doi: 10.1007/s10519-008-9238-8. Epub 2008 Nov 13.

Genetic and environmental mediation between measures of personality and family environment in twins reared together.

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Department of Psychology, University of Bielefeld, Universitätsstr. 25, 33615, Bielefeld, Germany.


In this study we analyzed the etiology of the relationship between personality traits and retrospectively recalled family environment. The data of 226 identical and 168 fraternal twin pairs reared together from the Jena twin study of social attitudes were available. Personality traits were measured using the self- and peer report versions of the German NEO-personality inventory-revised. A German version of Blocks Environmental Questionnaire was applied to measure two broad dimensions of the family environment retrospectively: support and organization. We could replicate earlier findings that retrospective reports of these family environment dimensions were in part genetically influenced. A total of 66% of the genetic variance in support and 24% in organization could be accounted for by heritable variance in self-rated personality. That was replicated by using peer reports of personality, 41% explained genetic variance in support and 17% in organization. Environmental mediations were negligible. This indicates that the relationship between personality and retrospectively recalled family environment is largely genetically mediated.

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