Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 84, Issue 3, pp 381–393 | Cite as

Nonshared Environmental Effects on Adulthood Psychopathic Personality Traits: Results from a Monozygotic Twin Difference Scores Analysis

  • Kevin M. Beaver
  • Michael G. Vaughn
  • Matt DeLisi
Original Paper


An emerging body of empirical research has revealed that nonshared environmental factors are associated with explaining variance in measures of psychopathy and psychopathic personality traits. The current study adds to this existing knowledge base by analyzing a measure of psychopathy derived, in part, from the five factor model in a sample of monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The results of the MZ twin difference scores analysis revealed that nonshared environmental factors found within the family were unrelated to between-twin differences in psychopathic personality traits. Only one nonshared factor—levels of self-control—consistently predicted psychopathy. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings and the limitations of our study.


Monozygotic twins Nonshared environment Psychopathic personality traits 



This research uses data from Add Health, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, and funded by a grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. Special acknowledgment is due to Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Persons interested in obtaining data files from Add Health should contact Add Health, Carolina Population Center, 123 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524 ( No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin M. Beaver
    • 1
  • Michael G. Vaughn
    • 2
  • Matt DeLisi
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Criminology and Criminal JusticeFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Division of Epidemiology, School of Social Work, School of Public HealthSaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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