Behavior Genetics

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 265–277 | Cite as

Genetic and Environmental Structure of DSM-IV Criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder: A Twin Study

  • Tom Rosenström
  • Eivind Ystrom
  • Fartein Ask Torvik
  • Nikolai Olavi Czajkowski
  • Nathan A. Gillespie
  • Steven H. Aggen
  • Robert F. Krueger
  • Kenneth S. Kendler
  • Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud
Original Research


Results from previous studies on DSM-IV and DSM-5 Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) have suggested that the construct is etiologically multidimensional. To our knowledge, however, the structure of genetic and environmental influences in ASPD has not been examined using an appropriate range of biometric models and diagnostic interviews. The 7 ASPD criteria (section A) were assessed in a population-based sample of 2794 Norwegian twins by a structured interview for DSM-IV personality disorders. Exploratory analyses were conducted at the phenotypic level. Multivariate biometric models, including both independent and common pathways, were compared. A single phenotypic factor was found, and the best-fitting biometric model was a single-factor common pathway model, with common-factor heritability of 51% (95% CI 40–67%). In other words, both genetic and environmental correlations between the ASPD criteria could be accounted for by a single common latent variable. The findings support the validity of ASPD as a unidimensional diagnostic construct.


Unidimensionality Common pathway Multivariate biometric model Psychometrics Diagnostics 



We acknowledge funding from the US National Institutes of Health and National Institute on Drug Abuse (1R01DA037558-01A1), the Research Council of Norway (226985), the Norwegian Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation, the Norwegian Council for Mental Health, and the European Commission under the program “Quality of Life and Management of the Living Resources” of the Fifth Framework Program (QLG2-CT-2002-01254). THR had full access to all the data in this study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. The funding sources had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Tom Rosenström, Eivind Ystrom, Fartein Ask Torvik, Nikolai Olavi Czajkowski, Nathan A. Gillespie, Steven H. Aggen, Robert F. Krueger, Kenneth S. Kendler, Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Approval was received from The Norwegian Data Inspectorate and the Regional Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics, and written informed consent was obtained from all participants after a complete description of the study.

Human and Animal Rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10519_2016_9833_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (599 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 599 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Rosenström
    • 1
  • Eivind Ystrom
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Fartein Ask Torvik
    • 1
  • Nikolai Olavi Czajkowski
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nathan A. Gillespie
    • 4
  • Steven H. Aggen
    • 4
  • Robert F. Krueger
    • 5
  • Kenneth S. Kendler
    • 4
    • 6
    • 7
  • Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud
    • 1
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Mental DisordersNorwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.PharmacoEpidemiology and Drug Safety Research Group, School of PharmacyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral GeneticsVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  6. 6.Deparment of Human and Molecular GeneticsVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  7. 7.Department of PsychiatryVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  8. 8.Institute of Clinical MedicineUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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