Genetic and environmental links between self-reports and parent-reports of child personality
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Personality ratings have been consistently found to be reliable and moderately heritable, but interrater agreement between self- and other-report of personality are low-to-moderate, particularly in childhood samples. The current study aims to examine the agreement between child self-reports and parent-informant reports of Big Five personality traits using a genetically informative approach. Using data from a sample of 2756 (982 monozygotic) twins ages six to 21 from The Texas Twin Project, we find that agreement between parent ratings and child-self reports for all Big 5 personality traits are mediated by both genetic and non-shared environmental influences. Models incorporating dominant genetic effects rather than additive genetic effects alone proved to better fit the data. In these models, the effect of additive genetics was strongly reduced or eliminated altogether in favor of strong dominant genetic influences, suggesting that dominant genetic effects play a key role in parent and child ratings of personality and should be more widely incorporated into similar research. Additive genetic effects were observed in parent reports of child extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, but not in any self-reported traits. Dominant genetic effects, however, were observed in parent and child reports of extraversion, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism, as well as parent reports of agreeableness. Non-environmental effects were strong for all Big 5 traits reported by children and parents. Contrast effects, while slight, were observed in parent and self-reports of extraversion as well as parent reports of conscientiousness and neuroticism.
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