Behavior Genetics

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 499–511 | Cite as

Heritability and Longitudinal Stability of Schizotypal Traits During Adolescence

  • Marissa Ericson
  • Catherine Tuvblad
  • Adrian Raine
  • Kelly Young-Wolff
  • Laura A. Baker
Original Research


The study investigated the genetic and environmental etiology of schizotypal personality traits in a non-selected sample of adolescent twins, measured on two occasions between the ages of 11 and 16 years old. The 22-item Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire- Child version (SPQ-C) was found to be factorially similar to the adult version of this instrument, with three underlying factors (Cognitive-Perceptual, Interpersonal-Affective, and Disorganization). Each factor was heritable at age 11–13 years (h2 = 42–53%) and 14–16 years old (h2 = 38–57%). Additive genetic and unique environmental influences for these three dimensions of schizotypal personality acted in part through a single common latent factor, with additional genetic effects specific to both Interpersonal-Affective and Disorganization subscales at each occasion. The longitudinal correlation between the latent schizotypy factor was r = 0.58, and genetic influences explained most of the stability in this latent factor over time (81%). These longitudinal data demonstrate significant genetic variance in schizotypal traits, with moderate stability between early to middle adolescence. In addition to common influences between the two assessments, there were new genetic and non-shared environmental effects that played a role at the later assessment, indicating significant change in schizotypal traits and their etiologies throughout adolescence.


Schizotypy Schizotypal personality Genetics Heritability Longitudinal 



This study was funded by NIMH (R01 Laura A. Baker). Catherine Tuvblad was supported by post-doctoral stipends from the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (Project 2006-1501) and the Sweden-America Foundation. Adrian Raine was supported by NIMH (Independent Scientist Award K02 MH01114-08). We thank the Southern California Twin Project staff for their assistance in collecting data, and the twins and their families for their participation. We also appreciate the help of Erin Skrok in developing child-appropriate wording for the SPQ-C items.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marissa Ericson
    • 1
  • Catherine Tuvblad
    • 1
  • Adrian Raine
    • 2
  • Kelly Young-Wolff
    • 1
  • Laura A. Baker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology (SGM 501)University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Criminology, Psychiatry and PsychologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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