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Temperament and Character in Childhood-Onset Neurodevelopmental Disorders (Autism Spectrum Disorders and ADHD)

  • Thomas NilssonEmail author
  • Ola Ståhlberg
  • Maria Råstam
  • Danilo Garcia
  • Henrik Anckarsäter
Chapter
Part of the Contemporary Clinical Neuroscience book series (CCNE)

Abstract

Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), express aberrant neurocognitive functions in social communication, flexibility and executive control from an early age, not seldom casting extensive consequences long into adulthood. They exist along a continuum from severe disorders to broader phenotypes or “shadow syndromes”. In recent years, several studies have assessed the relation between these conditions and associated personality traits in terms of Cloninger’s temperament and character model in both children and adults. The aim is to clarify to what extent neurodevelopmental challenges are associated with adult personality and elucidate the link between symptom severity and specific personality traits. Findings give support for specific temperaments (previously known as constitutions) with high Novelty Seeking in ADHD and low Reward Dependence with high Harm Avoidance in ASD, while low scores on the character dimensions of Self-Directedness and Cooperativeness are a shared feature of both disorders (and more so the more severe the disorder is). This replicates previous findings of the same character deficits across adult mental disorders, forming a common ground for mental health problems. This pattern is proposed to be a window of opportunity for treatment interventions aiming at enhancing agency, communion, resilience and well-being.

Keywords

ADHD Autism Character Cloninger Personality Temperament 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Nilsson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ola Ståhlberg
    • 2
  • Maria Råstam
    • 3
    • 4
  • Danilo Garcia
    • 5
    • 6
  • Henrik Anckarsäter
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Ethics, Law and Mental Health (CELAM), Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Department of Forensic PsychiatryNational Board of Forensic MedicineGothenburgSweden
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Sciences, LundLund UniversityLundSweden
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and NeurochemistryGillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  5. 5.Blekinge Center for Competence, Region BlekingeKarlskronaSweden
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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