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Keywords:

  • temperament;
  • character;
  • depressive symptoms;
  • Twin study;
  • Family study

Abstract

Although previous research has explored associations between personality and depressive symptoms, a limited number of studies have assessed the extent to which genetic and environmental influences explain the association. This study investigated how temperament and character were associated with depressive symptoms in 131 pairs of twin and sibling women in early adulthood, as well as 326 pairs of twin women in middle adulthood. Results indicated that genetic influences accounted for a moderate to substantial percentage of the association between these personality features and depressive symptoms, emphasizing the role of genetic influences. Nonshared environmental influences made important contributions to the association between character and depressive symptoms, particularly in the sample of middle-aged twin women. These findings suggest that unique social experiences and relationships with a partner in adulthood may play an important role in these associations between character and depressive symptoms. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 65: 1–19, 2009.