Temperament Clusters in a Normal Population: Implications for Health and Disease

Helsinki Institute for Information Technology and Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 07/2012; 7(7):e33088. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033088
Source: PubMed


The object of this study was to identify temperament patterns in the Finnish population, and to determine the relationship between these profiles and life habits, socioeconomic status, and health.
A cluster analysis of the Temperament and Character Inventory subscales was performed on 3,761 individuals from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 and replicated on 2,097 individuals from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns study. Clusters were formed using the k-means method and their relationship with 115 variables from the areas of life habits, socioeconomic status and health was examined.
Four clusters were identified for both genders. Individuals from Cluster I are characterized by high persistence, low extravagance and disorderliness. They have healthy life habits, and lowest scores in most of the measures for psychiatric disorders. Cluster II individuals are characterized by low harm avoidance and high novelty seeking. They report the best physical capacity and highest level of income, but also high rate of divorce, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Individuals from Cluster III are not characterized by any extreme characteristic. Individuals from Cluster IV are characterized by high levels of harm avoidance, low levels of exploratory excitability and attachment, and score the lowest in most measures of health and well-being.
This study shows that the temperament subscales do not distribute randomly but have an endogenous structure, and that these patterns have strong associations to health, life events, and well-being.

Download full-text


Available from: Jouko Miettunen
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the factor structure of observational indicators of children's temperament that were collected across the first three years of life in the Family Life Project (N=1205) sample. A four-factor model (activity level, fear, anger, regulation), which corresponded broadly to Rothbart's distinction between reactivity and regulation, provided an acceptable fit the observed data. Tests of measurement invariance demonstrated that a majority of the observational indicators exhibited comparable measurement properties for male vs. female, black vs. white, and poor vs. not-poor children, which improved the generalizability of these results. Unadjusted demographic group comparisons revealed small to moderate sized differences (Cohen ds=|.23-.42|) in temperamental reactivity and moderate to large sized differences (Cohen ds=-.64--.97) in regulation. Collectively, demographic variables explained more of the variation in regulation (R(2)=.25) than in reactivity (R(2)=.02-.06). Follow-up analyses demonstrated that race differences were substantially diminished in magnitude and better accounted for by poverty. These results help to validate the distinction between temperamental reactivity and regulation using observational indicators. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Infant Behavior and Development
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Drug addictions are debilitating disorders that are highly associated with personality abnormalities. Early life stress (ELS) is a common risk factor for addiction and personality disturbances, but the relationships between ELS, addiction, and personality are poorly understood. Ninety-five research participants were assessed for and grouped by ELS history and cocaine dependence. NEO-FFI personality measures were compared between the groups to define ELS- and addiction-related differences in personality traits. ELS and cocaine dependence were then examined as predictors of personality trait scores. Finally, k-means clustering was used to uncover clusters of personality trait configurations within the sample. Odds of cluster membership across subject groups was then determined. Trait expression differed significantly across subject groups. Cocaine-dependent subjects with a history of ELS (cocaine+/ELS+) displayed the greatest deviations in normative personality. Cocaine dependence significantly predicted four traits, while ELS predicted neuroticism and agreeableness; there was no interaction effect between ELS and cocaine dependence. The cluster analysis identified four distinct personality profiles: Open, Gregarious, Dysphoric, and Closed. Distribution of these profiles across subject groups differed significantly. Inclusion in cocaine+/ELS+, cocaine-/ELS+, and cocaine-/ELS- groups significantly increased the odds of expressing the Dysphoric, Open and Gregarious profiles, respectively. Cocaine dependence and early life stress were significantly and differentially associated with altered expression of individual personality traits and their aggregation as personality profiles, suggesting that individuals who are at-risk for developing addictions due to ELS exposure may benefit from personality centered approaches as an early intervention and prevention. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Journal of Psychiatric Research