Psychopathic personality traits in 5 year old twins: the importance of genetic and shared environmental influences
Fanti, Kostas A.
Colins, Olivier F.
PublisherDr. Dietrich Steinkopff Verlag GmbH and Co. KG
SourceEuropean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
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There is limited research on the genetic and environmental bases of psychopathic personality traits in children. In this study, psychopathic personality traits were assessed in a total of 1189 5-year-old boys and girls drawn from the Preschool Twin Study in Sweden. Psychopathic personality traits were assessed with the Child Problematic Traits Inventory, a teacher-report measure of psychopathic personality traits in children ranging from 3 to 12 years old. Univariate results showed that genetic influences accounted for 57, 25, and 74 % of the variance in the grandiose–deceitful, callous–unemotional, and impulsive–need for stimulation dimensions, while the shared environment accounted for 17, 48 and 9 % (n.s.) in grandiose–deceitful and callous–unemotional, impulsive–need for stimulation dimensions, respectively. No sex differences were found in the genetic and environmental variance components. The non-shared environment accounted for the remaining 26, 27 and 17 % of the variance, respectively. The three dimensions of psychopathic personality were moderately correlated (0.54–0.66) and these correlations were primarily mediated by genetic and shared environmental factors. In contrast to research conducted with adolescent and adult twins, we found that both genetic and shared environmental factors influenced psychopathic personality traits in early childhood. These findings indicate that etiological models of psychopathic personality traits would benefit by taking developmental stages and processes into consideration. © 2016, The Author(s).