Dimensional approaches have been used to describe the fundamental dimensions that underlie the entire domain of normal and pathological personality. We tested the five factor model of personality structure in a sample of Japanese twins, to clarify the contributions of genetic and environment. The revised NEO personality inventory (NEO-PI-R) was administered to 251 twin pairs, ranging in age from 15 to 27 years of age. The NEO-PI-R is a 240-item questionnaire which was developed to assess the dimensions of personality. Univariate genetic analysis showed that the AE model in which phenotypic covariances are explained only by additive genetic (A) and nonshared environment (E) is still a plausible model, and that the relative proportion of genetic influence was comparable to that reported by Loehlin (1992). Multivariate genetic analysis of the Japanese data suggested/revealed that the five factors are genetically dependent on each other and one common genetic factor mediates their interdependence. Previous studies have assumed that they are phenotypically independent and robust. Although there are sampling biases in the present study, it is noteworthy that the results for all five factors depicted by the NEO-PI-R were comparable to those reported by Western researchers, and the genetic structure of the five-factor model is complex. (Keio J Med 49 (4): 152-158, December 2000).
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