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      Phenotypic and genetic structure of traits delineating personality disorder.

      Archives of general psychiatry

      Adolescent, Adult, Diseases in Twins, genetics, Factor Analysis, Statistical, Female, Genotype, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Models, Genetic, Multivariate Analysis, Personality, classification, Personality Assessment, statistics & numerical data, Personality Disorders, diagnosis, Phenotype, Personality Inventory

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          The evidence suggests that personality traits are hierarchically organized with more specific or lower-order traits combining to form more generalized higher-order traits. Agreement exists across studies regarding the lower-order traits that delineate personality disorder but not the higher-order traits. This study seeks to identify the higher-order structure of personality disorder by examining the phenotypic and genetic structures underlying lower-order traits. Eighteen lower-order traits were assessed using the Dimensional Assessment of Personality Disorder-Basic Questionnaire in samples of 656 personality disordered patients, 939 general population subjects, and a volunteer sample of 686 twin pairs. Principal components analysis yielded 4 components, labeled Emotional Dysregulation, Dissocial Behavior, Inhibitedness, and Compulsivity, that were similar across the 3 samples. Multivariate genetic analyses also yielded 4 genetic and environmental factors that were remarkably similar to the phenotypic factors. Analysis of the residual heritability of the lower-order traits when the effects of the higher-order factors were removed revealed a substantial residual heritable component for 12 of the 18 traits. The results support the following conclusions. First, the stable structure of traits across clinical and nonclinical samples is consistent with dimensional representations of personality disorders. Second, the higher-order traits of personality disorder strongly resemble dimensions of normal personality. This implies that a dimensional classification should be compatible with normative personality. Third, the residual heritability of the lower-order traits suggests that the personality phenotypes are based on a large number of specific genetic components.

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