The influences of family environment on personality traits


  • A previous version of this paper was presented at the 5th International Congress on the Disorders of Personality, Vancouver, British Columbia, 25–27 June 1997

Correspondence address: KazuhisaNakaoMD, PhD Department of Clinical Neuroscience (Psychiatry), Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, D3, 2-2 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan. Email:


In order to clarify the influences of family environment on the development of personality traits, 150 children (104 males and 46 females, mean age 13.2 ± 2.4 years) who had been interviewed at the Child Guidance Clinic in Osaka were investigated. From 13 behavioral characteristics (activity, talkativeness, sociability, social skills, rule-keeping, will, aggression, emotional control, imagination, anxiety, maturity, intelligence, and neuroticism), factor analysis identified three personality traits: extraversion, maturity, and intellect. The effects of family environment (maternal and paternal participation in child rearing before and after 4 years of age, child-rearing style, parental relationship, sibling relationship, number of siblings, birth order, and socioeconomic status) on these personality traits were examined based on a structural equation model. The results found, first, that extraversion was negatively associated with overprotection/interference and with maternal participation in child rearing. Maturity correlated with high socioeconomic status, appropriate child-rearing style, and paternal participation in child rearing. Intellect was related to high socioeconomic status and maternal participation in child rearing. Second, path analysis with selected variables revealed that 8% of variance in extraversion, 14% in maturity, and 10% in intellect was due to family environment. Third, children with high introversion or high intellect had stronger influences from family environment than did those with high extraversion or low intellect.